DIVERSITY AT TECH

The sheer number of flags in the Student Services Building demonstrates the immense number of cultures that are represented at Tech. Many organizations celebrated the diversity of the Tech student body this week by hosting various events open to the rest of campus. The events ranged from song and dance performances to speakers and fairs.

On April 3rd, GT Hillel hosted IsraelFest at the Campanile. The event included displays on Israeli culture and free food for attendees to enjoy. Every year IsraelFest brings in a camel for students to pet and take pictures with. This year, however, there were two camels present at the event, one of them being the offspring of the usual camel.

CultureFest was another event that happened over the past week, planned by CultureTech. The first day consisted of the International Food Fair held on March 31, where different cultural organizations from across campus cooked up delectable delights to sell to the event’s attendees. The second component of Culture Fest was the Performance Night, hosted in part by the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). The event was held at the Ferst Center and included performers from Emory and Tech. Over 500 people attended the event, which is held annually. Last week also marked the beginning of Asian Cultures Week, a continuation of Asian Awareness Week from last year. The week was renamed by the planning committee, which was a collaborative effort between multicultural fraternities, sororities and other organizations such as Alpha Iota Omicron, Chinese Student Association (CSA), Delta Phi Lambda, Filipino Student Association (FSA), Korean American Student Association (KASA), Sigma Beta Rho, Sigma Sigma Rho, Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) and the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA).

The events consisted of numerous fairs, games and a career fair centered around Asian-American culture. Asian Cultures Week celebrated a variety of traditions and customs while integrating with surrounding schools, businesses and other organizations in Atlanta. This year’s Asian Cultures Week included a movie screening of the 2007 film The Namesake starring Kal Penn, a trivia night at Junior’s, TASA’s Night Market and FSA’s Culture Shock. Night Market and Culture Shock served as the culmination of the week’s events.

A collaboration between CSA, TASA and the Hong Kong Student Association (HKSA) at Tech and Emory, Night Market is a street fair, styled like those in China and Taiwan.

“It’s similar to the night markets in Taiwan…it’s basically a fair where there are a bunch of stands that sell lots of food, games and merchandise,” said Ginger Tsai, second-year Biomedical Engineering major and secretary of TASA.

Selling tickets for booths at the front of Skiles, Night Market provided an array of activities from authentic Chinese cuisine to colorful games. Organizations from both schools provided foods such as radish cakes, chicken nuggets, dim sum (Chinese dumplings) and bubble tea (milk tea with large balls of tapioca). Other booths included games such as Wii’s Super Smash Brawl and a Wheel of Fortune, where winners could win snacks and prizes.

“[Planning it with other organizations] was pretty hectic. We basically communicated through e-mail. Whether they were going to sell food, bring electricity…it’s very good [to develop] a lot of intra-club communications. It’s definitely a collaborative effort,” Tsai said.

“I would hope [Night Market] contributes to culture at Tech…for [people who are not] Chinese and Taiwanese, it’s for people to get [a] taste [of] what Taiwan is like, and for people who are from Taiwan [to] share their culture with the Tech community as a whole…it’s a way for them to celebrate,” said Jeff Wei, fifth-year Computer Science major and CSA executive board member.

Saturday night marked the end and the culmination to Asian Cultures Week with the Culture Shock event at the Architecture East Auditorium. Originally the event was scheduled to be held in the Campanile, but the show was moved due to rain. Culture Shock is an annual event hosted jointly by the Tech and Georgia State chapters of the Filipino Student Association, who have co-hosted the event for seven years. The event featured an array of free food donated from local restaurants and shops. Although FSA was the presenting sponsor, a variety of cultures from around the world were represented at the event.

“We strived to get a bunch of different performances from all over the world. Instead of simply showing everyone our culture, we figured that we would invite other people to show us theirs,” said Acelyn Barlaan, fourth year Computer Engineering major.

Performers from all over the Southeast were present, including groups from the University of North Carolina, University of Central Florida and the University of Georgia. Acts varied from traditional Asian dances to high-powered Brazillian Capoiera (a combination of martial arts and dancing) to eclectic hip-hop dance routines.

“Culture Shock this year was the best yet. We had a packed house, and hope to make it even better next year,” Barlaan said.