ASA Expo to culture Univ.

Audrey Gilliam

This Saturday, the Villanova Room will be transformed into a multicultural extravanganza. The Asian Students Association welcomes all Villanovans to their Asian Expo, which is a showcase of performances, artifacts, clothing and food from different Asian cultures. The showcase opens at 6 p.m. with a buffet dinner that will include Vietnamese, Korean, Filipino, Chinese, Indian and Thai food. Much of the food is donated by ASA members or their families, although some will be catered by local Asian restaurants.

During the dinner, guests will be able to see a variety of artifacts, books and displays which provide both the cultural and historical background of each of the countries featured in the expo. These displays will aid in informing Villanova students about Asian culture, which is one of the primary intentions of the evening. Sophomore and ASA member Jessica Mendoza acknowledges the importance of cultural education. “I was not very attached to Filipino culture before I came to Villanova, but learning more about my culture has been amazing. It has allowed me to learn more about myself and to realize the importance of both mine and others’ cultures as a unifying force,” she says.

The highlight of the evening, however, will be the performances, which will include a tae kwon do demonstration, a Vietnamese fan dance, tinikling, a hip-hop dance and a short fashion show with Asian clothing. Although the expo is sponsored by ASA, the members of ASA are also working with students in the South Asian Multicultural Organized Students Association and with students from the University of Pennsylvania, who will be performing a Korean dance. Each performance lasts between three and 10 minutes, and the evening itself will wrap up around 10 p.m.

The first Asian Expo was held in 1999 with the intention of making others aware of Asian culture. Past expos have included not only awe-inspiring performances, but also interesting and influential speakers. In 2001, Miss Pennsylvania, of Asian descent, was featured as the keynote speaker and this year, Dr. Helen Lafferty, University vice president, will introduce the event.

Although the amount of work may appear overwhelming, junior Jackie Gonzalez, ASA meeting director and head of decorations, says that past experience and Villanova support has greatly aided their efforts. “Many people don’t realize how much work goes into this and that there are a ton of people who help out backstage or behind the scenes. We all work together to get it done — for example, last year, we made our own balloon arch. We have been working just as hard this year. Also, CAT is helping us in promotion and setup, which we really appreciate,” she says.

In addition, practices for the performances, such as, Tinikling, a traditional Filipino dance which is performed with bamboo sticks, require extensive preparation. Participants begin practicing approximately two months before the show. The expo features both traditional tinikling, which is performed with the traditional music by less experienced tinikling dancers, and modern tinikling that is performed to reggae, house and hip-hop music. The dancers practice the dance itself for several hours per week until they are ready to perform with the sticks and for the past few weeks have been practicing for several hours almost every day. Senior Jen Manosca is excited to showcase all of ASA’s hard work. “My brother and I choreographed and taught many of the dances. The dancers were able to give their input and we changed the moves according to each dancer’s ability. All of the students have been very dedicated and hard-working in order for this show to come together. Overall, all of the dances are impressive and unique and they will be wonderful to watch.” Finally, Gonzalez wants to dispel the idea that events sponsored by cultural groups are only intended for members of that culture and she encourages all students to attend. “Many people hesitate in attending these events or joining ASA, especially if they’re not Asian. This isn’t the case. If you come out and meet us, you’ll realize that there are members who aren’t Asian and who are very active in ASA and have a great time. The purpose of ASA is to educate and expose our culture to all people, not to segregate!”

The Asian Expo will be held in the Villanova Room on Saturday at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $6 and will be available at the doo