By Abby C. Martinez
Chinese lanterns, red/yellow streamers and origami cranes decorated the KBR room where students and community members gathered to celebrate the autumn moon festival. Tables were set up in a way that created a open and inviting place for students to socialize and receive information of some of the resources offered on campus.
Amy Westmoreland, coordinator of HSU’s MCC, kicked off the event by welcoming students and members of the community and gave a small explanation of the event.
“ This event is one of our cultural festivals and it’s to celebrate the ADPI identities but also to celebrate the autumn moon festival,” said Westmoreland. “People not only get a really good experience of food and community but they also get the experience of learning what the moon festival is and why it is celebrated in many countries.”
The voices of eight Chinese level one students filled the venue as they performed two Chinese songs. The crowd enjoyed the melody of the songs that flowed perfect with the soft tenor and soprano voices.
Soon after the performances the explanation of the moon festival was presented and the legends behind it. An interesting part of the legend is the use of the moon cake and how it came about. The legend explains that moon cakes are traditionally used as offerings to the moon goddess Chang-e who lives in the moon. In today’s times moon cakes represent a connection to family and are seen as an offering of a happy long life.
The aroma of the venue became noticeable once the Chinese food was brought in for the students and community members to enjoy. Long lines wrapped around the venue but the food brought everyone together. Students sat in the tables and floor socializing and engaging in many of the activities around the KBR.
EOP and ADPI collective advisor Rodger Wang said having cultural celebrations like the moon festival is important for students.
“It’s important to have cultural celebrations that represent our ADPI students and build a community space because it’s a small population on campus but it doesn’t mean they should be ignored,” said Wang. “I was a student here at HSU and I had a very hard time connecting with other Asian Pacific Islander students. HSU should develop a ADPI academic resource center. I think having professional staff members to advocate and be there for them is important.”
Rodger is not the only person at the event bringing up the lack or resources for ADPI students.
HSU English Major Jessica Styles said she also thinks HSU should have an ADPI academic resource center.
“I feel like the fact that we don’t have one yet and Asian students have been attending for decades, it’s a little slow,” said Styles.
Amy Westmoreland, HSU’s MCC coordinator, said there are many difficulties ADPI students face at HSU.
“There are only one a or a few in class, their having difficulties with micro aggressions and having to cope being away from home,” said Westmoreland. “I really think that we need a ADPI resource Center that works specifically with these students so that we can support them in their journey here.”