By Jennifer Goetz
The College got a taste of Asian nightlife at the first annual Night Market, hosted on Green Lawn by the College’s Japanese Student Association, Korean Student Association and co-sponsored by the College’s Asian American Alliance on Friday, April 6.
The Night Market’s perimeter and nearby trees were decorated with strings of lights. A brightly lit up stage hosted numerous acts, like singers and dancers, that represented different aspects of Asian culture. Activities, such as seeing a fortune teller or getting a caricature, were also available to students.
Tents surrounding the stage offered street food from various Asian countries, including China, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam.
“We made sure everyone represented a different country,” said Yani Aldrich, a senior sociology major and president of the KSA. “We made sure every activity had a cultural basis and that the food represented their country’s culture.”
A barbeque wafted the smoky smell of grilled pork. Students could also taste bubble tea, Vietnamese coffee, spring rolls, sushi and more.
Planning the event took five to six months, according to Nikki Huang, a senior nursing major and president of the College’s Asian American Alliance.
“We starting planning probably in like October, November because (this event) is the first of its kind,” Huang said. “We just needed a lot of time to think about where we want to have it, what kind of events, what activities (to have).”
Huang said that the clubs wanted to create their own event, that would be fun for attendees as well as help their organizations stand out.
“JSA and KSA are new clubs, they’ve only been around for two, three years,” Huang said. “Each Asian club had their own specific big event … so they kind of wanted to integrate some of their own culture into a big event.”
Christine Papas, a junior mathematics major and president of the JSA, said planning a brand-new event for the first time was stressful, but she knows that all the work paid off.
“I think it’s completely worth it just because multiculturalism is not something that is found abundantly at TCNJ, so I think it was a great opportunity to show the campus what the rest of the world is like,” Papas said.
Students acknowledged and appreciated the effort that went into planning the event’s activities.
“I feel like all in all if you can get a turnout that’s like this, which is pretty decent, especially on a Friday night, I think it’s pretty good,” said Amanda Pegher, a senior biology major.
Papas and Aldrich were pleased with how the event turned out.
“I’m happy. It came together a lot nicer than I thought it would,” Papas said. “Only because we’ve never run an event like this, or any sort of event, we were worried about whether or not things would actually fit into place and would work, but it turned out a lot better than I ever expected it to be.”
In the future, Papas foresees JSA and KSA incorporating more multicultural organizations into the Night Market.
“There are a lot of cultures on this campus that people may not be entirely familiar with, but I think this is actually a really good opportunity to invite people to see what it’s like,” Papas said.