Chinese New Year celebrated in Peck Hall

Students walking through Peck Hall Friday afternoon had the opportunity to experience Chinese culture in the form of a small New Year Celebration.

Susanna Lu (right) works with a student on chopstick techniques while Dean Romero (center) reflects on the Chinese New Year.

The Foreign Language Department, in order to promote more information about Chinese culture and Chinese New Year, has hosted the event for the past three years. The event falls under the umbrella of Discover Languages month, according to Thomas Lavallee, assistant professor of foreign language and literature.

“I teach Mandarin Chinese. This is a way to kick off of a series of events to bring to the university community a better understanding about language and culture,” said Lavallee.

This small celebration included short lessons on using chopsticks effectively, writing Chinese calligraphy, as well as allowing students to ask questions about the Chinese New Year and find out where the fall in the Chinese calendar. One student was happy to find out that he was born in the year of the rabbit, which is the current year, and that it indicated he should have luck this year.

Cindy Scarsdale, special events coordinator, (left) and Sandy Holt, administrative aide in the College of Arts and Sciences deans' office (right), display their names in Chinese calligraphy. The names were written by students volunteers. photo courtesy of Susanna Lu.

“This event is for the students. It’s for students to learn more about Chinese culture and the Chinese New Year,” said Lavallee. “We’re trying to get the word out about studying Chinese.”

Xiaoli Loveridge, lecturer of foreign language and literature, provided a sampling of traditional Chinese food for students to taste. She encouraged the students to try the food and ask questions about what they were eating.

Susanna Lu, a master’s student in mass communications, who volunteers as a Chinese tutor helped put the program together.

“Susanna is our Mandarin tutor. I had her think up some new events and organize them this year,” said Lavallee.

Blake Ferando, a junior biology and chemistry double major, Erik Zimmermann, a sophmore philosophy major, and Robin Brandy, a senior art and design – drawing focus major are three students who attended the event. They tried some of the traditional foods that were provided by the Loveridge.

Ferando (left), Zimmerman (center), and Bandy (right) try traditional Chinese food provided by Loveridge.

“We knew that they were having Chinese New Year celebration here. It sounded awesome, so we decided to stop by.” said Ferando.

Several of the students passing by are taking classes in Chinese. Others said they were attracted to the event because it was hard to miss.

“I was really drawn to the colors, the plates on the table, and the food — mainly the food,” said Brandy. “My family usually goes to the Chinese buffets, so that’s where I get a lot of exposure to Chinese food. My mother is actually Korean and some of the dishes are similar.”

The Discover Languages program has more events planned in the next couple of weeks, including two this Wednesday, February 16. The two events are ‘A Presentation of Yoruba Song’ and ‘Arabic Language and Culture.’

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