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Chinese New Year Hits Brooklyn College

Student organizers of this year’s Chinese New Year event stand alongside the presenters of the lion dance at the Student Center. PHOTO/ Nakeisha Reece

By M.A. Rahman

Published: February 27th, 2019

The first Chinese New Year event to be celebrated on campus in recent memory became a reality, courtesy of the members of Brooklyn College Table Tennis League bringing a plethora of activities for students to join in.

Shanlin Li, a Chemistry major and senior, iterated her and her fellow club member’s determination to make this event become a reality before they leave Brooklyn College.

“I noticed there was no Chinese New Year event on campus and I said ‘Well, we have a lot of Asian students here so why not do this ourselves?’” Li said promptly detailing her months-long organization of the event.

According to Brooklyn College’s 2018 Fall semester ‘Enrollment Snapshot,’ over 18 percent of the student makeup is Asian.

With funding assistance from the Student, Activities, Involvement Leadership (SAIL) Center and coordination with the Pre-Dental Society, BC Sustainability Club, CLAS, ACA, and  the Chinese Student and Scholars Association, organizers were able arrange a myriad of activities to be enjoy at the Student’s Center along with a lion dance on campus much to the surprise of students in the afternoon.

The Student Center’s nearly two floors worth of room needed to be reserved for students to enjoy the full range of activities Li and her peers had in mind: table tennis, card games, a photo booth, cotton candy, and the much-appreciated karaoke.

When food was not the main course of the distraction of the day, throngs of students flocked to the now dark and ornate Glenwood room, where sprinkled about were traditional Chinese decorations and lanterns creating a particular atmosphere that added to the casual karaoke singing.

Queenie Lin, a senior and psychology major, was the designated chaperone for students singing karaoke.

“It’s quite great actually, much better than I thought it would have been… students chose whatever songs they wanted and they really support each other, I haven’t really seen any booing,” Lin said pleased.

“It was great, I really enjoyed it. I got to sing one of my favorite songs,” said Lordy Belance with a gleeful smile, shortly after gaining the applause of students hearing her sing “Born This Way.”

On the same floor at the Jefferson lounge, a substantial space was occupied by two table tennis tables.

Here, students could either choose to try play on one table, utilized by some of the most stand out, experienced, and determined players in the room, members of the Table Tennis League that with a certain precision, allowed them to serve and strike back the tennis ball in a mostly uninterrupted, fluid fashion frequently captivating the observation of students passing by.

There was also another table tennis table used by another group with a generally more casual attitude for playing involving much more light-hearted fun as tennis balls routinely flung right off the table right into a wall.

Alex Louise Pierre, a senior, and film production major expressed his enjoyment of the occasion, citing the pleasure he gets from having an opportunity to play table tennis, something he regularly does with Table Tennis League.

To Pierre, the activity is a kind of stress relief enabling him to drift his focus off film making while still on campus.

“It’s only been 20 minutes since my last classes ended and I got here but I’m already enjoying it,” said Andrew Porter, a transfer student, and Music Composition major.

Although initially uncertain of how the event would have been received due to the amount of time/resources spent planning it and the pressure she felt following much promotion of it, upon reflection Li cited these fears as factors that motivated her to ensure students enjoyed the celebration.

“Overall, I’m really glad that we got to have the celebration and have that many people celebrate Chinese culture on campus before I graduate,” Li said. “I think it’s a good start and I hope we can continue in the future.”

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