Lively energy, bustling activity and smiling faces are just a few images that characterize Oxford College’s Taiwanese American Student Association (TASA) Night Market on March 23.
The market featured booths from nearly every cultural association at Oxford, including the Oxford Chinese Student Association (OCSA), the International Student Association (ISA), the Arab Culture Association (ACA), the South Asian Cultural Association (SACA) and the Asian Culture Club (ACC).
Each booth provided traditional games and food that corresponded to the club represented. Students earned tickets by playing games at each booth, which they could then exchange for food. For example, SACA offered a variation of beer pong called Desi water cup and served falooda and iced chai, while ACA organized a bracelet-making station and served baklava and mint lemonade. Toward the end of the night, students enjoyed performances from the Asian Fusion Dance Team (AFDT) and Nishana, Oxford’s Bollywood dance group.
TASA’s co-presidents, Zoe Liu (24Ox) and Grace Chou (24Ox), as well as its vice president, Allison Liu (24Ox) were the primary event organizers. However, they gave credit to each club that worked with them to pull together the market in a little under a month.
“Planning was definitely a challenge, considering the night market was a collaboration between eight different clubs,” Chou wrote in an email to the Wheel. “I am indebted to all of the club presidents and event coordinators who made communication easy and effective.”
Although the planning process was marked with chaos and challenges, like determining the ticket system, inviting and communicating with clubs and determining kitchen availability, Chou wrote that she was “incredibly appreciative of all the people who enjoyed and supported” the Market.
Despite her initial worries, Liu wrote that she was happy with the event turnout.
“As [it was] my first time hosting a huge event involving multiple clubs, I was a little bit worried about the outcome, but I feel like the event turned out really well,” Liu said.
Liu added that everyone was engaged and enjoyed the food provided at the event.
Noah Lian (23Ox), who tabled for ACC at the market, said he felt the event was a good way to create unity among different cultures on campus.
“I’m really loving it,” Lian said. “It’s promoting a sense of community and unity, so I think it’s really cool we’re doing this event.”
Students said the event was not only entertaining and engaging, but also informative and educational.
“It’s really good to bring knowledge to a lot of different students on campus and have a better base of … the foundations of different upbringings,” Rishi Earla (23Ox) said.
Chou wrote that it was important for her to use the market to blend other cultures into the event, showcasing a wide variety of cultures in order to better educate and expose the student body to different traditions.
“A core part of our mission at TASA this semester is to bridge the gap between our understanding of Taiwanese culture, as Taiwanese students, and the rest of Oxford’s student body,” Chou wrote. “Night markets are such an important part of Taiwanese culture and cuisine, so we felt that creating this event would be the perfect opportunity to share our culture with others.”
Their mission was a success, according to Gita Paladugu (23Ox), who attended the event.
“It’s a really cool way to bring cultural aspects of different organizations together through food,” said Paladugu. “Food is a major way that a lot of people celebrate their culture.”
Chou wrote that she hopes the night market will encourage other cultural associations to collaborate more often with cultures that seem widely different.
“I want the night market to be a representation of what collaboration among clubs can be,” Chou wrote. “TASA is a small cultural association and getting to work with much bigger clubs, like ACC and AFDT, was such a dream.”
Liu agreed, adding that TASA will continue to call for the collaboration of distinctly different cultures.
“I definitely hope that the night market will appear again in the same form in the near future … and become a recurring event that brings different clubs together to showcase different cultures in an enjoyable way,” Liu said.