The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Students celebrate Lunar New Year

St. John’s rung in the Year of the Tiger
last week in Marillac Cafeteria.

Approximately 450 students and guests
enjoyed cultural dances, professional
singing, a buffet dinner and karaoke at the
Lunar New Year celebration on Friday,
Feb. 12.

“The new year is a sacred time for all
the Asian countries who celebrate [the
Lunar New Year],” said Father Tri Duong,
who delivered the homily during mass.

He continued to explain that this
is a time for families to come together
physically and spiritually.

The dinner, spearheaded by Project
AIM (Asian and International Mentoring),
is one of the biggest events of the year,
according to Yvette Clairjeane, the
group’s student coordinator.

“I think every year the event has
been growing so there have been more
and more people so we’ve been working
to accommodate as many people as
possible,” she said.

Cilvya Sam-Mensah, an assistant
mentor for Project AIM, said that the
New Year was one of the community’s
biggest events, and praised the University
for supporting those who celebrate it.

“Asian students look forward to it
because it’s like a family away from
home and although they can’t celebrate
with their family, there’s a place they can
go to actually celebrate their culture,”
Sam-Mensah said.

Xiuhan Hu, president of Interfaith
Association, said, “I really feel like I’m
home because Chinese New Year is the
biggest festival and biggest event for the
Chinese community.”

Other students expressed their wishes
and New Year’s resolutions.

Graduate student Zhi Jaei said,
“Because the tiger is active and very
energetic animal, I hope I can have good
performance in my studies this year.”

Freshman Junhao Liang said, “I want
to make more friends here at St. John’s
University because I am a freshman and I
want to travel all around America.”

The event proceeds of $500 will be
donated to the Haiti Earthquake Relief
Fund.

Father Duong expressed his pride and
happiness with the celebration.

“I remember fi ve years ago when I
just came to St. John’s, this celebration
[had] only about 70 or 80 people,”
he said.

“And now fi ve years later, you can
see how many people. So that really
shows us how St. John’s has supported
the different diversity among the students
in the University that help the students to
learn and also to share other cultures with
one another.”

According to Rosa Yen, associate
director of Leadership Development and
Multicultural Affairs, an event like this
takes months of preparation.

“The challenges are short of staff,
limited budget, and limited capacity
of location. Luckily, Project AIM Peer
Mentors, Diversity Peer Educators, and
many Asian leaders have been welltrained
to work as staff in my area to cover
the shortage of man power,” she said.

Over the years, Yen said, Project AIM
has added a variety of programs to the
event, including a dinner and traditional
Lunar New Year customs.

These include traditional
performances by University students
and local performers from the Min Hui
Chinese School.

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