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Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

The Observer

Case Western Reserve University's independent student news source

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Taiwanese students host Lunar New Year banquet

On Feb. 11, the Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) hosted its annual Lunar New Year banquet to ring in the new year. The event was held in Thwing Center’s 1914 Lounge beginning from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. As president Julia Shei explained, “It’s our annual celebration of the Lunar New Year that brings people together to enjoy some good food, conversation, and fun.”

TASA aimed to keep the event causal and allow guests to interact with one another. Shei said, “I believe this event is a great opportunity for meeting people of different ethnic backgrounds who have all [fallen] in love with Taiwan. You cannot simply push away people who wish to know more about you and your culture.”

The event kicked off with a dinner of various well-known Taiwanese dishes. While the guests enjoyed their meal and chatted amongst themselves, TASA began a slideshow presentation introducing their executive board members. The slideshow included a short biography of Shei, vice president Karen Song, public relations chair Shelly Chou, freshman representative Calvin Chi, treasurer Ruthie Lin, and secretary Julia Lai.

Each committee member shared a little about themselves and their ties to Taiwan, whether they were born there or their family emigrated. They also added something they love about Taiwan. “Taiwan is a mix of everything. It seems to create something unique and is always changing,” said Chou. “While geographically Taiwan is a tiny island, it has everything: gorgeous gorges, volcanic rock-sculpted landscape, lush jungles, rolling hills, misty mountains, and a stunning coastline.”

The slideshow ended with Lai sharing information about the Intercollegiate Taiwanese American Student Association (ITASA), a non-profit organization providing events and resources that explore and celebrate Taiwanese American identity in order to inspire, empower, and engage the community.

The organization began in 1990 at Columbia University and slowly progressed westward. Lai is also the Midwest district chair for ITASA and believes ITASA can help develop a better understanding of the Taiwanese culture and its diverse customs. ITASA holds a conference annually in each of its districts; the Midwest Conference will be April 6 to 8 at the University of Michigan.

The last part of the event was a trivia contest. Each table of seven to eight guests was provided four pieces of paper containing a written letter. The tables competed to answer the questions as fast as possible to earn a prize. Question topics were focused on Taiwan, and included Taipei 101, the Taipei subway system, and even Taiwanese Major League pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.

“I felt this game, while being competitive, should help people get to know a bit about Taiwan,” said Shei. “I believe this event showed the diverse cultures and the various impact Taiwan has on each one of us. We want to [extend] that same feeling to all the members of [the university community].”

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