China Night is an annual event hosted by the Chinese Club at Boise State that invites the community to be apart of a Chinese cultural experience by celebrating the Chinese New Year.
Shannon Nielsen, senior studying supply chain management and president of the club, explained that they work to promote international friendships while exploring Chinese culture and language.
“We strive to engage students in Chinese culture and to get to know more about that culture,” Neilsen said. “[…] maybe get students interested in the language, as well. We feel a lot of students in the area don’t know too much about the culture or may have preconceived thoughts, so we want to give them more exposure to the culture.”
While many members of the club have been exposed to the Chinese language or are pursuing minors in Chinese studies, the club is open to anyone, even if their knowledge of the culture is limited. Meeghan Sheppard, a senior majoring in political science, is the treasurer for the club and encourages anyone with an interest to join.
“Getting involved with something unfamiliar to you is so good because it’s able to expand your worldview,” Sheppard said. “It’s also just fun to learn about new things, new languages, new cultures and be more culturally aware of what’s appropriate and what’s not and at the end of the day it’s just fun.”
Joseph Mahler, a fourth-year student majoring in interdisciplinary studies, is the vice president of the club. The inspiration for the club comes from many different areas and seeks to also promote internationalism.
“What we like to do, even though a lot of the club members are in fact studying Chinese at Boise State and are pursuing the Chinese studies minor, we like to promote internationalism, understanding for worldly perspectives and we do that by sharing the Chinese culture and language,” Mahler said.
Many of the activities that the club enjoys vary, from picnics together, to movie nights to their main event, China Night. For many of the club members, this has been their favorite experience while being involved in the club.
“It’s my favorite event because a lot of the local community comes in to watch these performances,” Mahler said. “There is lots of great music, taekwondo, and tai chi performances. Last year they had a magic act and it’s just a really entertaining night filled with a lot of music and entertainment.”
For Sheppard, China Night is inspirational. With the Chinese club being on the smaller side, seeing the event draw a large crowd is a great accomplishment.
“It’s at the Chinese club on campus, because not a lot of people are studying Chinese, it’s a pretty small club,” Sheppard said. “So when you get to China Night you don’t expect it to be so big: up to around 400 people. And the dancing and other entertainment are also just gorgeous to see.”
The communities in which Boise State clubs have created are continually growing and expanding in their diversity. As just one of many cultural clubs on campus, the Chinese club seeks to bring different world-views to campus.
“I think that diversity is great. With our ever-growing and globalized world, it’s important to be aware of other people’s beliefs and perspectives,” Mahler said. “Starting clubs based around diversity is how we familiarize our students with what perspectives and beliefs are out there in the world.”
China Night is on Feb. 8. and is open to the public.