By Danielle Gittleman
Feb. 19 marks this year’s Chinese New Year, and Rider is holding its own celebration courtesy of the Center for International Education (CIE) and the Office of Campus Life on Feb. 20.
This year, students will mark the New Year with a number of activities.
“The celebration features student performances, authentic Chinese foods and the opportunity to learn more about the Chinese culture,” said junior global studies and Chinese major Connie Au, who is an undergraduate assistant at the CIE office. “Some performances include a traditional lion dance, students singing Chinese songs, and piano performances from our Westminster students.”
Kim Algeo, assistant director of the CIE, notes that there will also be a special performance by Rider’s Sanda University students who came to New Jersey from Shanghai, China. Au is also excited that they are bringing back the traditional lion dance, since it is said to be good luck to have one at a Chinese New Year celebration. Master Kwan and his Kung Fu school are to perform the dance.
Rider’s celebration of the Chinese New Year has been an annual event since 2007. However, this year’s festivities are even more special because of Rider’s 150th anniversary. In addition, it is President Mordechai Rozanski’s last year.
“President Rozanski started the partnership with Sanda University, and this will be his last year watching the Sanda students perform,” said Algeo.
2015 is the Year of the Goat, and according to Au, the goat is a symbol of good blessings and fortunes and promises a year of great prosperity.
The goal for the event is not just to celebrate the New Year, but also to have students learn about and appreciate Chinese culture.
“We hope that students will gain a sense of togetherness,” said Au. “Traditionally, Chinese New Year is a time for families to come together to celebrate the holiday, as we do here for Thanksgiving. Not everyone may be able to spend this holiday with family, especially our international students from China. This celebration allows our students to spend the holiday with peers and colleagues in our Rider community.”
This celebration is an official public holiday in China, and is one of the most important days for families in China, according to Au. She hopes that Rider’s Chinese New Year celebration allows non-Chinese students to experience a whole new culture and learn about its traditions first hand.
The CIE along with the Office of Campus Life have been working together to make this celebration one of the best Rider has ever had.
“Seeing that our international students are so engaged in helping prepare for the celebration is astounding,” said Au. “Our Sanda University students have even brought decorations all the way from China to display at the event.”
The celebration will be taking place on Feb. 20 from 4:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. in the Cavalla Room.
“We’re hoping for a big turnout this year as the event is on Friday rather than on Saturday as it has been for the past few years,” said Au. “With this change of fate, we’re hoping more students and faculty will stop by and watch a few cultural performances while enjoying some authentic Chinese food.”
Printed in the 2/18/15