Rider celebrates Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

By Tatyanna Carman

(Left to right)  Judy Wong, junior marketing major,  Jess Higham, senior psychology major, Lorenzo McCollum, graduate student and Adam Chin, junior English major speaking at the event. 

Asian Pacific American Heritage month presented four events throughout April that shared the culture and experiences of Asians and Asian Americans to the Rider community.

The events were presented by The Asian Students at Rider (ASAR), the Rider International Student Association (RISA) and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

The Pacific Islander Dancers kicked off the month of events on April 1, followed by Asian Game Night on April 3, Korean Theme Night on April 10 and an open discussion for Asians and Asian Americans on April 17.  

The Pacific Islander Dancers showcased the culture of islands like Fiji, Tahiti and Hawaii through dance and music in Daly Dining Hall. 

The Asian Game Night in Lynch Adler Hall emulated popular Asian game shows on a smaller level. Some of the games included “Can you K-pop,” where students had to replicate dances from K-pop groups to earn team points. Another game was “Asian Food Relay,” originally based in Japan, where students had to compete to eat the most food the fastest. 

“It was [interesting] to see the different games people would play for fun,” said sophomore psychology major, Chloe Smith. “It’s something new and exciting.” 

ASAR and RISA hosted Korean Theme Night in Lynch Adler Hall and talked about Korean culture and popular-culture. A portion of the night was dedicated to more traditional Korean games such as the Korean version of jacks and hacky sack. 

“Each event is supposed to immerse you into something that’s either popular in Asian culture or means a lot,” said junior marketing major and president of ASAR, Judy Wong. 

The open discussion on Asian and Asian American students on campus, which occured in Lynch Adler Hall, allowed for students to share their experiences being Asian and for non-Asian students to share what it is like being around Asian students. 

Junior English major, Adam Chin said, “The central focus of this event was to spread the idea and experience of what it means to be Asian and, especially, Asian American, and how it contrasts with the idea of being a foreign-born Asian or someone who grew up near Asians or is just interested in Asia in general.” 

The discussion started with introductions from each person who attended and went straight into conversation about the experiences, issues and pressures of being Asian. Although the events and discussion were based around Asian culture, some of the attendees were of different backgrounds. 

“Asian culture has been slowly making way through K-pop since it’s one of the biggest things that came over [to the U.S.] other than anime,” Wong said. “A lot of people now know what anime is or what K-pop is and they could name BTS [a famous K-pop boy band] for sure.” 

The event ended with students conversing while getting snacks before they left.

“Everyone has a different experience and everyone’s experience is valid,” Smith said. “You should appreciate where you come from. Even if where you come from isn’t amazing, especially if you were treated poorly by the people around you, embrace your culture.”

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