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The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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A Peek at 2021 International Week events

A+Peek+at+2021+International+Week+events

A look into the annual International Week through the events hosted on campus

In spite of limitations on in-person events, cultural clubs across the Knox campus were able to organize and carry out a successful hybrid week of events for the first time for Knox’s 40th annual international week. Many clubs planned their events to align with this year’s celebratory theme, Movies and Music. 

Monday

Roma event poster. (Photo courtesy of @lonuestro_1990 Instagram)

Roma event poster. (Photo courtesy of @lonuestro_1990 Instagram)

“Roma” showing with Lo Nuestro
Every year, Lo Nuestro chooses a Spanish speaking country to represent for the International Fair and this year, they chose Mexico. The club kicked off International week, following the Movies and Music theme with their showing of “Roma,” directed by Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón. Before the showing, they held presentations from Secretary Josie Lopez ’23 on the history of cinema in Mexico and from President Monica Cardoza ’22 and Historian Juan Manuel Ramirez ’23 on the background and cultural context of the movie. “Roma” is based on Cuarón’s personal life and focuses on Cleo, an indigenous woman who worked in his house as a live-in maid, during a time of political violence and unrest in the Mexican theater of the Cold War.

“We [decided to show] ‘Roma’ because it’s a more modern Mexican film. It’s got a lot of cultural merit because the director, Alfonso Cuarón, is really well known. He has a lot of works, and he did a wonderful job with the movie,” said Lopez. “It won a Grammy. We also chose it for the fact that the actress (Yalitza Aparicio) is one of the first few times that there’s indigenous representation within the film industry.” 

Tuesday

Onam attendees decorating a Pookkalam. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

Onam attendees decorating a Pookkalam. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

Onam Festival with aaina

In the South Indian state of Kerala, there’s an annual harvest festival that celebrates the beloved ancient King Mahabali. The legend of King Mahabali recounts his devotion to the Hindu god Vishnu, who blessed the king with the ability to visit the lands and people he ruled once every year. This yearly visitation is the focus of Onam celebrations. While the holiday usually takes place around August, aaina began celebrating in the winter and wanted to share some of the festivities with the broader campus. During International Week, they hosted an event carrying out the Onam tradition of decorating Pookkalams. Also known as floral Rangolis, Pookkalams are designs created on a flat surface and made up of gathered blossoms in different colors. Many international students attended the event dressed in traditional wear. 

“People celebrate in the state by making Pookkalams, they’re designs of flower petals. There is food, stuff like that, so we tried to replicate that,” said aaina President, sophomore Aditi Parikh. “One of our members (junior Aamy George) does celebrate [Onam], so she came in and spoke a little bit about its significance to their culture.”

Presentation slide explaining the plot of Ip Man 2. (Photo courtesy of Hao Li)

Presentation slide explaining the plot of Ip Man 2. (Photo courtesy of Hao Li)

“Ip Man 2” showing with Chinese Club

The Chinese Club held a showing of “Ip Man 2,” which is a biographical film based on the life of Ip Man, a Chinese Kung Fu master known as the Grand Master of the Martial Art Wing Chun. 

Chinese Club Co-President Hao Li shared that while the club had a few movies in mind to show, they decided on this one because of its fame in western countries and China alike, and how it bridges Chinese cultural traditions with American popular culture through its affiliation with Bruce Lee. The event garnered audience members who engaged with the chat feature on Zoom toward the end of the movie.

“It tells you how Chinese Kung Fu starts and follows from the last movie. This movie also introduced one of his most famous students, which is Bruce Lee, so that’s where Bruce Lee comes from,” said Li. “It’s like a connection from the origins of Chinese Kung Fu, and passes it to Bruce Lee, and how Bruce Lee did this in the U.S.”

Thursday

ASA Board Fair attendees crafting at the Origami Table. (Photo courtesy of Aki Wakayama)

ASA Board Fair attendees crafting at the Origami Table. (Photo courtesy of Aki Wakayama)

Booth Fair with Asian Student Association
Keeping with the International week tradition of booth fair, which typically involves all of Knox’s cultural clubs hosting an educational booth during International Fair, Asian Student Association created their own booth event. Adorned with Asian movies and music stars, ASA co-president, senior Aki Wakayama helped to create a club presentation board to share appreciation and knowledge of Asian entertainment with attendees. In addition to the booth, the club played trailers for Asian movies and had an Origami table for anyone interested in crafting. The club played any recommendations of Asian entertainment on the big screen. 

“We tried to recreate our normal I-Fair as much as we could. We created this trifold presentation with a bunch of pictures of Asian movies and music that our exec members really liked and were really familiar with…” said Wakayama. “We were ready to give explanations and recommendations to Asian movies and music, sort of being our own critics on the [entertainment].” 

Japan on Mic event poster. (Photo courtesy of Koji Wittmer)

Japan on Mic event poster. (Photo courtesy of Koji Wittmer)

Japan on Mic Podcast with Japanese Club

Japanese Club President junior Koji Wittmer hosted a podcast event for International Week via Zoom. For the event he compiled a playlist of Japanese music—some songs for their popularity, some for his own personal interest—and took some time to talk about the songs. Another Japanese Club member also recommended a few songs, as playlist recommendations were open to club members and students. 

“Half of [the playlist is] songs that are really popular right now, two are from Studio Ghibli movie soundtracks… Most of these are super mainstream, just to get a feeling for what [Japanese] music is like,” said Wittmer. “For the movie soundtrack songs, that was sort of to keep up with the I-Fair theme of the year, which is Movies and Music.”

Friday

Virtual Bingo Night with UNICEF
UNICEF hosted a Bingo Night with a $2 participation fee, with all proceeds going to UNICEF USA. Co-Public Relations Chair sophomore Shubhanga Satyal said the event allowed attendees to enjoy a game of bingo as well as bring to light contentious and concerning issues around the world. International Club sponsored prizes for the top three winners, which were a chocolate basket, Echo Dot speaker and a laptop stand.

“[UNICEF has] been doing bingo for a while now, we hosted an in-person bingo event last year also,” said Satyal. “It was virtual so there were some technical difficulties, however it went well. We had originally planned for three prizes, but there were two simultaneous bingos for the third prize so we had to give the third prize to two winners.”

Students attend an in-person Bollywood dance workshop hosted by Terpsichore Dance Collective. (Rob Nguyen/TKS)

Bollywood Dance Workshop with TERP 

One of Terpsichore Dance Collective’s main missions for the school year was to collaborate with more cultural clubs. This was done out of recognition that there are many forms of dance beyond the contemporary and hip hop styles that are often showcased at their performances and out of a desire to learn more about different styles of dance. TERP Production Manager junior Maggie Cheng was happy with the outcome of the event, which attracted as many people as it could with COVID guidelines taken into account. The workshop was led by junior Shuchita Poddar, who taught a dance routine to go along with the song “Garmi”, a song from the famous Bollywood film “Street Dancer”.

“TERP is really trying to put ourselves out there and get more involved with the cultural clubs, because dancing is a cultural thing, it’s not just an American thing. It’s not just a white thing, and so we’re trying to broaden our horizons and bring in more perspectives,” said Cheng. “We’re hoping we can continue doing things like this.”

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