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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Chinese student organizations host joint Chinese New Year Gala

Kelly Luo/The Daily Northwestern
Northwestern students celebrated the Year of the Dragon at the Chinese New Year Gala.

The Chinese New Year Gala, hosted by two of Northwestern’s Chinese student organizations, celebrated the arrival of the Year of the Dragon Saturday.

Co-hosted by the Chinese International Students Association and the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, the show’s program consisted of dance, music and stand-up comedy performances.

“We want to give students in Northwestern something to celebrate and to make them feel at home,” said CSSA president Angela Zhou, a third-year Ph.D candidate in physics. “We also want to give students a stage to show their talents to other people.”

The gala also welcomed the arrival of special guests including Zhao Jian, the Consulate-General of the People’s Republic of China in Chicago, who gave a speech to celebrate the Year of the Dragon and handed out gifts to students who won a raffle.

Zhou said Chinese New Year can be a hard time for Chinese students to feel connected with their celebratory traditions.

“Not only do we not get to celebrate with our family, but we also have to study and work on midterms,” she said. “We see Christmas and Thanksgiving all around, but for Chinese New Year we see nothing.”

Weinberg freshman Katherine Li said although New Year’s greetings can be made through phone calls and messages, the Gala’s in-person activities provided a sense of community for Chinese students who might be missing home.

“It gives me a semi-sense of home,” Li said. “The last time I’ve been around so many Chinese people was when I was back in China during the summer.”

The event is one of few opportunities in which undergraduate and graduate students come together. Li said she views this as a great way to create a sense of belonging among Chinese students across all levels of study. 

Shuwen Chai, a second-year computer science Ph.D candidate, said galas are often a Chinese New Year tradition celebrated with family and friends. As many international Chinese students cannot spend the holiday with their families, attending the event with friends feels more personal.

“It’s a kind of symbol for your homeland,” Chai said. 

Traditional Chinese food and snacks were also served alongside the performances. Weinberg sophomore Kathelyn Tung, a CISA junior executive board member, helped prepare and serve food for attendees. 

“Every New Year, my family and I will also make dumplings by ourselves,” Tung said. “These preparations really make me feel at home.”

The Gala also had a handful of attendees from beyond the Chinese community. 

“I think it’s good that we saw non-Chinese audiences,” Zhou said. “I wish it could be an opportunity for them to know more about Chinese culture and what Chinese New Year means to us.”

Ending with the classic Chinese New Year song “Unforgettable Night,” the gala concluded with new year’s greetings from all of the event’s hosts and performers who gathered onstage.

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