China Night highlights culture through cuisine, student performances

The Chinese Culture Club of Geneseo put on their annual China Night on Saturday Dec. 1 in the MacVittie Union College ballroom. The night was characterized by various festivities and traditional Chinese dishes, as well as student performances that celebrated Chinese culture (Josie Kwan/Assoc. photo editor).

The Chinese Culture Club  of Geneseo hosted their annual China Night on Saturday Dec. 1 in the MacVittie College Union Ballroom, providing guests with access to a wide variety of experiences associated with Chinese traditions and culture. 

The night offered multiple performances, from singing to traditional dances including the lion and umbrella dance, as well as a multi-faceted skit regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act and a fashion show later in the evening. 

The event began at 6 p.m. when the doors opened to dozens of attendees who sat at tables that corresponded to their tickets and began socializing with students, faculty and other community members alike from a wide variety of backgrounds. 

Festivities kicked off with an introductory 10-minute video showcasing the months of work put into planning the event by members of the CCCG, followed by a brief speech by club executive board members. 

Attendees, as well as organizers and performers, were then invited to make their way to tables at both ends of the room. Servers lined up in front of a diverse range of Chinese cuisine, including sesame chicken, fried rice, vegetable lo mein, tomato egg drop soup and more, accommodating for different dietary restrictions. 

The club prepared for the event six months in advance, holding practices for the different performances and dedicating between 10-15 hours a week for preparations, according to CCC public relations manager senior David Leung.

“Our scriptwriter started writing [the skit] before the semester even started, and they’ve been working on it throughout the entire summer,” Leung said. “Once we got to school, we started our acting, dancing, all types of practices.” 

One of the main events of the night included a skit tackling the Chinese Exclusion Act enforced in 1882 targeting Chinese immigrants to the United States. 

“Our mission of our club is to spread Chinese culture and so in our skit, we’ve incorporated a lot of history, as well as traditional dancing and we believe that the things we’ve included should educate the campus on Chinese culture and such,” Leung said. “Since this year’s skit revolves around the Chinese Exclusion Act, that was based in America, it’s Chinese American history which we felt would be great to educate everyone about,” Leung said.

Interspersed between scenes of the skit were other features, including singing and dancing. One of the singers, business administration major freshman Wen Chen looked forward to bringing awareness and education of Chinese culture to the campus community.

“That gray space [where] you don’t belong on the American side and you don’t belong in your own cultural side, you’re stuck in the middle and don’t belong anywhere...I just feel real excited about us advocating for that gray space,” Chen said. 

Attendees, including geology major junior Miranda Felong, appreciates the increase of cultural events on campus reflecting diversity on campus. 

“I think it’s really important for people to be able to experience a lot of different cultures because I think that’s what makes Geneseo unique,” Felong said. “We have a lot of diverse people so having the cultural nights brings everyone together.” 

Leung felt that the event was important in light of the current political climate.

“The current political climate is heated,” Leung said. “This year’s play is quite serious and I guess we’re just trying to in a way reflect that climate at the moment.”