On Sept. 26, Vanderbilt’s Asian American Student Association (AASA) hosted their second Night Market, which was open to all students. Held outside of the Commons Center, this cultural event celebrated the kickoff of Asian Pacific Islander Desi American Month (APIDAM), which starts on Oct. 1.
Attendees were given a card with eight different Asian student organization booths to visit. These stations featured activities such as origami at the Japanese Cultural Foundation table, traditional Chinese and Japanese games, and Pakistani food.
“It’s an amazing atmosphere, a lot of lovely people and friendly faces,” Royden Kil, a first-year, said.
Students’ cards were marked at each booth they visited. When they accumulated a certain number of marks, students could exchange their card for prizes, such as traditional snacks and drinks.
“The food was really good, and the prizes are pretty cool as well,” Kil said. “In terms of organization, I think the scratch-off idea was really good.”
Bem Asfaw, a first-year, described the event as an “unexpected learning experience.”
“It was a nice experience that I didn’t think I would enjoy as much since I thought it was more of a club fair,” Asfaw said. “I didn’t know that there was food, activities and a history behind the games, so it was really nice.”
While first-years had an opportunity to be introduced to the Asian presence on campus, sophomores and upperclassmen said they were excited to engage with the in-person cultural aspect of the event after its absence last year.
“It was like a breath of fresh air, especially because I haven’t been around to see this many AASA events,” Andrew Hu, a sophomore, said.
Kev Jung, a senior and member of the Japanese Cultural Foundation, spoke about seeing and conversing with Vanderbilt’s community at the Night Market.
“It has been exhilarating,” Jung said. “I think it’s mostly because we didn’t have it last year, and just to see all of Vandy’s community—not just the first-years but everyone—come and celebrate Asian culture; as an Asian, I’m really enjoying it.”
First-year Luke Deutschman expressed excitement to attend more AASA events, particularly the rest of the APIDAM celebrations in October.
“I really enjoyed it. There’s a lot of diverse foods, and I get to tap into my own culture, so it’s fun,” Deutschman said. “They should do more of this.”