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Large Turnouts at Chinese Cultural Events Suggest China is Trending Among Rose-Hulman Students

February 10, 2012

  Chinese New Year's

Chinese New Year's

Over 300 students turned out on Sunday to celebrate the Chinese New Year, and help bring in the Year of the Dragon.  The efforts of three campus groups, the  International Student Association, the Chinese Culture Club and the Asian Society of Engineers and Scientists, made sure the event was a successful blend of cultural experiences and tasty food.

Huge Turnout for Chinese Seminar

Chinese Seminar Turnout  

The surprising turnout called for a quick room change 
to this lecture hall.



Wednesday morning, it was down to the wire the first day of Rose-Hulman's free, weekly Informal Chinese Language Seminar offered through winter quarter to anyone on campus. Monitoring the sign-up lists, Luchen Li and JianJian Song learned attendance was literally about to go through the roof. They had booked a small classroom for about 10 attendees, and 40 had already signed up. Last minute, they moved the event to the Myers 137 lecture hall, and over 50 people attended, including 8 faculty/staff members.


Chinese tea ceremony  
Dangtong "Bridget" Bai demonstrates 
Chinese tea ceremony with
tea ware sent from China.

Dr. Song was able to provide enough handouts for everyone, supporting the language lesson with Chinese characters and pinyin transcriptions, thanks to help from his student assistant, Erin Campbell. Campbell's efforts were part of the push that made the free seminar a reality. 

"Freshman Erin Campbell and her friends were going to commute to ISU campus to take Chinese language lessons in January," said Luchen Li, whose Office of Global Programs also supported the seminar. "But some of them do not even have vehicles."

The free Weekly Chinese Language Seminar was also made possible by the contributions of instructor Qi Cui, who is both a Chinese instructor and a Ph.D. candidate at ISU. At professor Song's urging, Cui offered to volunteer his time to accommodate the interest expressed by Rose-Hulman students. According to Li, students have been approaching him and other department heads requesting courses in Chinese language and culture.

Chinese Tea Ceremony 2  
After the seminar, many students came up to try the tea.  

"Currently over 120,000 students from China are enrolled in American universities and colleges," Said Li. "The U.S. government plans to send about the same number of American students to China in the next few years to study in a variety of disciplines. Rose-Hulman students see great opportunities with many of the companies they work for, or wish to work for, having operations in China."

The seminar's first 55-minute program was segmented into a delightful mixture of cultural factoids, conversational practice, and a tea ceremony demonstration by student volunteer Bridget (Dangtong) Bai. Bai used her own tea ceremony box with tea cups and teapot, which her mother had mailed from China. After pouring tea, Bai explained that the process of drinking ceremonial tea involves first smelling, then sampling, then drinking, and finally leaving a small bit of liquid in the cup. People will generally laugh at someone who drinks all the tea in the cup, Bai explained -- "Only a horse or a pig drinks all the tea," she said, laughing.

The seminar continues every Wednesday at 4:20 in Myers 137 throughout winter quarter.