Asia Fantasia Celebrates Eastern Cultures

Caroline Weihs

There are two magic words that can typically attract any Colgate student to an event: free food. Those words may have helped bring around 200 people to the Hall of Presidents (HOP) this past Saturday, March 29, at 5:30 p.m., but that is certainly not what kept them there. The Asian Studies Program sponsored an event called Asia Fantasia, which combined Asian groups and clubs on campus together in one place to share and celebrate their culture through food and entertainment.

The clubs represented included the Korean Students Association (KSA), the Colgate Vietnam Society (CVS), the Japan Club, the Chinese Interest Association (CIA) and the South Asian Cultural Club (SACC).

Although primarily student-run, Luce Associate Professor of Chinese and Director of Asian Students John Crespi directed the event with help from Administrative Assistant of the Asian Studies Program Letta Palmer. Expecting a maximum of only 130 people, Palmer was impressed at the volume of people in attendance. Involved in the Asian studies program for almost 20 years, Palmer has experienced the way in which the program has a tendency to remain in the shadows, especially because it is an interdisciplinary major. By combining with other Asian groups on campus during Asia Fantasia, it was clear that the strength of the Asian voice on campus increased significantly when everyone was working together.

“Essentially the goal was to make the visibility of the Asian Program and clubs more prominent by making a cohesive event to get our voice out,” Palmer said about the inspiration behind the creation of Asia Fantasia.

During the event in the HOP, each club had their own table with display boards, flags and foods that were unique to the nation or group of people they were representing. There was everything from Korean food to sushi to Vietnamese food. There were club performances by KSA, Japan Club, SACC and CIA. The Syracuse Kung Fu Lion Dance Team also made a special performance. This dance team performed the “Lion Dance,” a traditional dance and symbol of power and good fortune in the Chinese culture. It is based on kung fu footwork, and involves two martial artists making up the lion’s head and body and a large costume decorated in vibrant colors. During the performance, Professor Crespi fed the lion a head of lettuce, symbolizing good luck.

First-year Do Hyun Lee, known as Danny, did an excellent job being the emcee for the event and keeping the energy alive.

This was the first time the Asian Studies Program and Asian groups on campus got together and accomplished such a big event, and since it was such a success, it is expected that more events like Asia Fantasia will happen in the future.

Contact Caroline Weihs at [email protected]