UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

A Student-Planned Event Canceled

On Saturday, February 5th, as a continuing event from a concert held the night before, the Lunar New Year Festival was opened by the Asian Student Center in the Campus Center’s Ballroom. Lunar New Year is an annual event that marks the start of the lunar year, which is based on the cycles of the moon. Because of this cyclical dating, the beginning of the year can fall anywhere between late January and the middle of February. This year, the New Year started on February 9th. Lunar New Year is also known as the Chinese New Year, but it is also celebrated in many other Asian countries such as Taiwan, Korea, and Vietnam. The event was planned to start at 11am, and the invited performers from outside the campus were dressed up and all ready to appear. One group consisted of six women who were going to perform a traditional dance, which would start with a white umbrella, then with a white fan and finally with a red scarf. They were all dressed in ?o Di of six different colors. Another group was colored in black and expected to present Vo Co Truyen (Vietnamese Traditional Martial Arts) and a traditional New Year dance. Those six women were not professional dancers and hadn’t even decided their group’s name yet. Therefore, to present a satisfactory performance for the audience, they had practiced twice a week for the last three months while being pressed with their schoolwork. On this day, they gathered at 7am and prepared for the event. However, about thirty minutes after the scheduled opening time, few people had come, and eventually the Asian Student Center decided to cancel the event. Huge disappointment was felt by the performers, and one dancer of the six-women group couldn’t hide her anger and said, “We practiced hard for this, and it was all for nothing.” The Vo Co

Truyen group quietly packed up drums and a lion mask, which would be used during a dance, and left the room while the six women decided to show their achievement to the remaining audience, who were the organizers of the event.

There were many reasons why people didn’t come. One was because it was Saturday and there was a big event being held at the Bayside Expo Center by the Vietnamese Community of Boston, who invited popular singers.

The Asian Student Center also had invited the singers the night before and about three hundred people attended the event. Part of the problem was the lack of proper communication. Here at UMass, students hardly know what kind of on-campus events are happening. In deed, when I asked students who were on the Upper Level of the Campus Center on that day, only one was even aware that the event was happening.

Although the Ballroom has been used many times for conferences and student-planned events, not many students actually know about the existence of the room, which could mean that they have never attended such events. Whatever the reason is, this could be a very unfortunate trend for UMass Boston. One performer from the Lunar New Year Festival commented, “I know this is a smaller event [than the one at the Expo], but it doesn’t mean it’s less worthy.” In fact, many events held on campus are educational as well as entertaining, and planning an event is often encouraging and inspiring for students to pursue their interests. Students create an event out of their desire, plan it for long time, exercise a group work, learn what they can do under certain circumstance, and then try to manage things within the limitations that exist. This is a great course that a school can’t offer, and thus student-planned events are essential for schools to have. There must be ways to change this trend and have students more rooted in a campus community. There could be an improvement made in ways of informing students about what future events are happening, or the school may be able to offer a special service when students plan an event on a Friday night or a weekend. Otherwise, students could be discouraged to plan an event and UMass would become merely a place where people just come to have a class and leave as soon as they are done with it. At the same time, we students should have time to stop and look at flyers on a wall and attend events that look interesting. Many students are holding various kinds of events, and it will definitely inspire your interests. Then, it’s almost guaranteed that you will look forward to another event.