The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Student organizations celebrate Mid-Autumn Festival

VUCSSA, Peabody APIDA, QED, VUCA and TASA hosted various cultural events in celebration of the holiday.
George Albu
West End Tower looming over Greek Row at night, as photographed on Sept. 15, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/George Albu)

Various Asian cultural organizations on campus organized events from Sept. 25 through Oct. 8 to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival, which took place on Sept. 29. These celebrations, which featured mooncake tastings, performances, and lantern paintings, aimed to foster community and promote cross-cultural interaction among students.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival, is regarded as the second-most important festival in China after the Lunar New Year and usually takes place on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar. Traditionally, the festival is a time for family reunions and eating mooncakes, which are traditional round pastries made with a variety of sweet fillings. It is also the optimal time for moon gazing, as the moon is at its fullest. 

Fostering community

Vanderbilt University Chinese Students and Scholars Association hosted a gala on Oct. 8 that featured live-streamed performances by The Deltamen, Vanderbilt’s first all-Asian student band, as well as various dance groups, singers and performers from the local Chinese community. According to junior Shirley Xu, president of VUCSSA, the gala aimed to celebrate Chinese cultural heritage and foster community among international Chinese students. Attendees of the event were provided with free mooncakes, boba and tickets for lottery drawings. 

First-year Chelsea Li expressed her appreciation for the sense of community at the event and said it helped relieve homesickness.

“I feel so fortunate that everyone could gather together to celebrate Mid-Autumn, even on foreign soil,” Li said. 

First-year Cici Luo commented on the talent of the performers. 

“It’s so nice to see fellow Chinese peers showcase their amazing talents,” Luo said. “I was genuinely surprised.”

Sharing culture with others

Peabody Asian Pacific Islander Desi American and Queering Education and Development co-hosted a mooncake mix-and-mingle event on Sept. 25 that included free mooncake tastings, icebreaker games and a quiz on the holiday’s cultural significance.

“It was different from previous years because we decided not to do a mooncake making event but a mooncake tasting,” second-year Ph.D. student Melissa Luong said.

Vanderbilt Undergraduate Chinese Association hosted their Mid-Autumn Festival event at Moore College on Sept. 27, offering food from Lucky Bamboo and mooncakes alongside student performances.

“We aimed to present an opportunity for both Chinese and non-Chinese students to appreciate Chinese culture and understand the importance of the Mid-Autumn festival,” VUCA member Olivia Fang, a sophomore said in a text message to The Hustler. “Participants were able to enjoy mooncakes and mochi, taste different teas and practice calligraphy.”

On Sept. 28, the Taiwanese American Student Association provided mooncake tasting and lanterns for participants to paint, allowing students from various backgrounds to experience traditional culture.

TASA first-year representative Sam Pan commented on the cross-cultural nature of the event.

“I feel really excited to see how many foreign students are interested in learning our culture,” Pan said. “I got to teach these foreign students how to write down their Chinese names on the lanterns.”

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About the Contributors
Jessica Li
Jessica Li, Social Media Staffer
Jessica Li (‘27) is from Shanghai, China, and is majoring in communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her reading, listening to K-Pop and buying Jeni’s ice cream. You can reach her at [email protected].
Young Yao
Young Yao, Staff Writer and Social Media Staffer
Young Yao (‘27) is from Shanghai, China, and studies political science and neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find him playing frisbee, watching “Comedy Central” or productively procrastinating at Peabody Library. He can be reached at [email protected].
Faiza Islam
Faiza Islam, Staff Photographer
Faiza Islam (‘27) is majoring in public policy and minoring in sociology in the College of Arts and Science. In her free time, she enjoys yoga and journaling. You can reach her at [email protected]
George Albu
George Albu, Staff Writer and Photographer
George Albu (‘27) is majoring in medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not working for The Hustler, he enjoys taking long walks around campus, reading or watching video essays about anything and everything online. He can be reached at [email protected].
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