2016 Chinese New Year Gala brings diversity, unity to WSU

The Wayne State’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association, in coordination with the Confucius Institute, will be bringing Chinese New Year celebrations to WSU, for their second annual free gala on Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The 2016 Chinese New Year, falling on Feb. 8, is the year of the monkey, a symbol of ambition and adventure and also the ninth of the twelve zodiac signs. The family-oriented celebration treasures traditional cultural customs, such as making clothes, decorating with animal shaped paper and giving children gifts for the holiday.

“We are going to do it just like what we do in China,” said Peifeng Li, the president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association and WSU material science and engineering master’s student.

This year the gala will give students a closer look at Chinese traditions, such as dance performances, music, food and ancient pluck stringed instruments such as the erhu and the guzheng.

Peifeng Li believes that this celebration will bring Chinese students to their hometown roots and will give them a chance to celebrate an important start to a new year, even while living in America.

“For students like us, we are beyond far away from our hometown; I think this is a great opportunity for Chinese (students) at Wayne State to feel like they have their families here in America,” he said.

Ethan Li, a WSU biological science master’s student who restarted WSU’s CSSA in 2014, explained that during his volunteering at the Detroit Chinese Business Association, he was pushed to relaunch WSU’s CSSA. He felt that it was his duty.

Ethan Li organized the CSSA’s first Chinese New Year Gala. The student organization distributed 500 tickets to students from different cultural backgrounds.

“When I started the organization, I said that I wanted this (gala) to not only be for Chinese (students), but I wanted all minorities to enjoy this event, “ Ethan Li said. “Most importantly, we want to teach non-Chinese people about our culture, but we also want others to mix their cultures with ours and express themselves.”

To Ethan Li, it’s important to not only unite Chinese students, but all minorities at WSU.

Student organizations and groups, such as the SYNCZ dance crew and the Lebanese Student Association will be performing break dances and traditional dances at the gala as well.

Like many other student organizations, CSSA welcomes their door to newcomers.

Peifeng Li said, “I think an association is just like a door, we open our door for everyone and welcome everybody to get a better understanding of modern Chinese culture.”

The volunteer, nonprofit association fosters 30 student scholars and gives them a platform for communication.

The event will start with dinner at 6 p.m. in the Student Center Building in ballroom C. The event is free and tickets will be distributed at the event’s check-in table.

For more information on the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, visit: http://www.wsucssa.org/main.php

Contact Arts and Entertainment Editor Mayssa Masri at mayssamasri.tse@gmail.com or 248-924-7406. Follow her on Twitter: @mayssamasri

View full article via: The South End

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