While other students study abroad in Asia, Tech students in Atlanta were able to experience the tastes and tones of Asian culture as they trekked through a series of Asian-oriented stands across campus on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
“This was our first attempt at such a large-scale event,” said Elysia Hwang, vice president of the Asian American Student Association (AASA) and a fourth-year BME major.
The AASA conducted initial planning of the Tour of Asia and invited Asian cultural organizations from across campus to set up booths and activities.
“Our main goal for the event was to encourage students to get to know campus better because when we were freshmen, we rarely ventured outside of the areas around our dorms. We also hoped to facilitate more communication between the Asian organizations on campus,” Hwang said.
In addition to facilitating communication, the Tour of Asia allowed freshmen and other students to explore the campus, according to Andy Wu, president of the Taiwanese Student Association and fourth-year ChBE major.
The coordinated organization recruiting effort began with Tour of Asia, a campus-wide event with informational booths, samples of culture and a prize giveaway.
Organized by the Asian American Student Association, the 11 groups involved were a sampling of South, Central and Eastern Asian cultural student organizations on campus.
The process started with each student participant taking a postcard marked with all the booth locations, and the student would earn a sticker from each booth by completing a culture-dependent activity. Fortunately for those making the journey across “Asia,” many of the booths distributed cold Yakult, a sweet Japanese beverage, and the Campanile booth distributed cups of Thai tea to combat sweltering temperatures.
Once the participants completed all 11 booths’ activities, they could trade the postcard at the central booth at the Campanile for a T-shirt and an entry to the prize drawing. Prizes included several gift certificates, an external hard drive, a Wii and a 32-inch television.
This first ever run of the Tour of Asia met some challenges though; attendance was much lower than expected, and there were some issues with contracted services that impeded progress.
“It could have been more organized, [and the] concept could have been worked a little more so that people don’t have to run around so much,” said Jerome Choo, a second-year BME major.
Additionally, there was not as large of a turnout appeared as expected.
“Our biggest challenge was marketing the event to campus. Since this was a new event, students would only know about it if we reached them through our marketing campaign,” said Soumon Rudra, president of AASA and a fourth-year BME major.
“We had a decent turnout but it could certainly be improved. We are planning on making Tour of Asia a recurring event every fall,” Rudra said.
Ultimately, the participating organizations had the opportunity to network with the freshmen.
“[We got to] sell ourselves and make our names known to the freshmen…It was awesome to reach out,” Wu said.
The groups participating in the event were a mix of cultural, professional and academic organizations: Alpha Iota Omicron, Chinese Friendship Association, Chinese Student Association, Delta Phi Lambda, Hong Kong Student Association, India Club, Japan Society, Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, Taiwanese American Student Association, Vietnamese Student Association and Xi Kappa.