Asian New Year Festival
Crystal Kim, ’19
How has my week been? Let me give you a short recap. On Monday, I sat down with the lighting and sound technicians from Vanderbilt University Production Services to discuss some technicalities regarding Langford Auditorium. On Tuesday, I ran from rehearsal to rehearsal to give feedback and meet with respective choreographers. On Wednesday, I ventured to the deep, dark cages of Sarratt to do inventory for dinner supplies. On Thursday, I had five meetings back-to-back with different people all regarding the same event. Tonight, I’m going to be busy painting a banner for publicity. Tomorrow, I made plans for a meeting at 8AM to work on the script for show skits. On Sunday, I’ll be burying myself away to set up google docs, excel spreadsheets, meeting agendas, etc. And then? It all starts again the next week.
“Why?” you ask. Well, because it’s in preparation for ANYF! ANYF stands for Asian New Year Festival, and it’s the Asian American Student Association’s way of celebrating the Lunar New Year on Vanderbilt’s campus. It is a huge festival with over 15 different acts of varied Asian origins performed in Langford Auditorium, which AASA has sold out the 1100 seating capacity of every year for the past few years. As a freshman, discovering AASA and ANYF on campus was a game-changer for me. I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of an organization which would allow me to immerse myself in my culture and then share it to my friends and fellow students. I applied to be an MC as a first year for ANYF, and was able to join the team. I, along with 6 others MC’s, worked to create an original script with a storyline based on the show’s theme, Monkey King, which also connected acts to help transition between acts. Although it was difficult to prepare a script that had to be entertaining, along with educational, appropriate, and relevant, we managed to complete it with hours of brainstorming meetings and group writing sessions. I was awed by the success of the show, the number of people who were excited to participate (over 350), and especially the large crowd (over 1100 people!) who showed up to support and to learn more about our cultures through the event. And I think one of the greatest things about this is that ANYF is only one of the events that AASA holds to strive for diversity and inclusion.
My experience with AASA through ANYF inspired me to apply to take on a larger leadership role within the organization. This year, I served as the Cultural Assistant on AASA board, which basically means I am the ANYF Assistant. Even though that means that my days are hectic, as outlined above, I am pouring effort and passion into something that I love and want to share with other people.
Coming into college, I didn’t think I’d end up taking on such a large role in a cultural organization. I wasn’t opposed to it in any way, it just had never even crossed my mind as a possibility when I thought about what my life would look like in the university setting. To first-year students, I would say to keep your mind open when it comes to extracurriculars. It’s likely you won’t end up doing what you pictured yourself doing, so don’t filter yourself on preconceived notions. You don’t have to restrict yourself to things that are only related to your major, either. After all, I’m a classical performance major! And on a campus like Vanderbilt’s, it’s likely that you will be devoting a lot of time to your campus involvement, so find something that will make it worth your while.