Asian Student Association Educates Students of Lunar New Year


Shyam Sharma, president, and Cindy Tran, vice president, of ASA pose for a photo at the Lunar New Year event. Photo courtesy of ASA.

Eddie Stewart, Staff Writer

It’s the Year of the Rabbit, and a brand-new start for the FGCU Asian Student Association. 

On Jan. 23, Shyam Sharma and Cindy Tran manned a decorated table in the SoVi Dining Hall, giving presentations on Lunar New Year traditions and telling those who stopped by their Chinese horoscope, and what it means. 

This Lunar New Year celebration was the first major outreach event the newly rebranded Asian Student Association has put on. In collaboration with the Multicultural and Leadership Development Center and Campus Dining, the ASA drew in over 250 guests to its inaugural outreach event. 

Sharma, a sophomore environmental engineering student and president of ASA, was drawn to the club due to a lack of Asian representation on campus.

“I’m from Orlando, Florida, and it’s a really diverse area, with a lot of multicultural events,” Sharma said. “Coming here really made me realize the value of that, what it is just to exist. It truly does matter if your culture is there and celebrated.” 

Other volunteers and club members had their own booths, providing interactive demonstrations to guests and passers-by on holiday traditions from writing one’s name in Chinese calligraphy to the significance of stuffing red envelopes full of money. After guests have stopped by every table, they receive a free meal voucher for SoVi Dining, which is serving primarily Asian cuisine to celebrate the Lunar New Year. 

ASA was formerly the Asian American Student Union, and the club was founded in 2019, but faced a variety of challenges that prevented it from doing many major events. After sudden leadership position vacancies, Sharma and Tran found themselves in charge of a club that they knew had incredible potential. 

Tran, a sophomore biology student and vice president of ASA, had a different background than Sharma, but felt a similar way. 

“I grew up in Cape Coral, and there wasn’t a lot of diversity there,” Tran said. “When coming to school, I knew I wanted to join an Asian student organization, and when the opportunity came to lead, I wanted to do what I could to grow the association.” 

As well as provide a safe place on campus for Asian students, the ASA hopes to be a resource and space for others to learn.

Jaxon Durchik, an attendee of the event and sophomore, was excited to come to this event. 

“I hadn’t really heard much about the Asian Student Association or even the Lunar New Year before the event, but what I learned from everyone there really interested me,” Durchik said. “I know how to write my name in Chinese calligraphy now!” 

After the success of the Lunar New Year celebration, the ASA is looking forward to future outreach events to spread awareness of the club. The ASA meets biweekly to educate attendees about various Asian countries, and hopes to include in its celebration the Hindu festival of Holi in March, and a Ramadan event in March or April. 

They encourage students to find their page on Eagle Link or visit their Instagram page, @asa.fgcu. 

“This club is truly for everyone, anyone willing to join and learn about Asian culture and heritage is welcome,” Sharma said.