Chinese Students and Scholars Union celebrates beginning of Year of the Rooster

K-State professors and their families dance at the Chinese New Year's gala at McCain on Jan. 31, 2017. (Regan Tokos | The Collegian)

The Chinese Students and Scholars Union kicked off the Year of the Rooster with the Chinese New Year Gala held Tuesday night in McCain Auditorium.

The gala started with a film featuring students, faculty and Manhattan business owners who supported the event, wishing everyone a happy Chinese New Year.

Taylor Jennings, graduate student in student affairs and higher education, said she was curious about the Chinese New Year.

“I was interested in what a big part of the student population is doing and I was interested in seeing how they would celebrate the holiday,” Jennings said.

The film was followed by several performances from members of the Chinese Students and Scholars Union. These included a medley of Disney songs, piano music, cultural dancing, comedy acts and songs.

One of the acts was a band called Under the Fifth Rib, made up entirely of students. Michael Meador, senior in secondary education-chemistry and lead singer of the band, said the band’s name was meant to signify the band’s desire for their music to have heart, since the heart is located physically under a person’s fifth rib.

“My friend Joshua is an international student and his real name is Chengyao Gao,” Meador said. “We met last semester and really hit it off. We have gotten to jam a few times together just playing guitar, and he thought it would be fun to play for this. He grabbed some of his friends, which ironically were some of my friends and we put a band together and had a lot of fun.”

Attendees, many of which were from Manhattan’s Chinese community, filled the auditorium to near capacity.

Event attendees received Chinese gift bags as they arrived. The gala also included three raffles where they gave away prizes, including iPads, televisions, money and other mystery items.

Elizabeth Musil, faculty member in the English Language Program, said she was interested in the event because she has many Chinese students.

“I teach in the English Language Program and I have many students from China and I have never come to one of the New Year’s events or things before so I thought it would be interesting to see what it’s all about,” Musil said. “I was impressed by the vast array of different things they had here and I really enjoyed it.”

The gala was characterized by a wide array of performances, ranging from a dance interpretation of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman,” to a comedy act making fun of plastic surgery using crosstalk, a Chinese form of comedy consisting of back-and-forth talking.

“Seeing all the talent, there was a lot of talent, it would be hard to choose just one, but I liked every time the crowd seemed to respond to something I wouldn’t normally respond to but you could tell it was important to their culture,” Jennings said. “I was impressed and I can’t believe how talented that our student body is.”

Meador said he was glad to have a better understanding of Chinese culture.

“I have been involved with this community for a while, but it’s just really cool how there’s a difference in their culture,” Meador said. “They’re not so time sensitive whereas, with us, people get frustrated if things don’t start on time. It’s a lot more relaxed.”