(Photo courtesy of Nate Coady) “Left to right (Vietname Student Association): Kayla Tran (underclassmen rep), Kayla Nguyen (president), Danny Tran(Internal Vice President), Horn Nguyen (treasurer), Ryan Do (senior advisor), Brandon Go (public relations), Kenny Nguyen (secretary).”
This past Friday, September 22, The Asian Sister Clubs hosted the annual Night Market in front of the Campus Recreation Center from 5PM to 7PM. The available booths were held by a variety of Asian clubs like The Filipino Club (TFC), The Vietnamese Students Association (VSA), The Japanese Students Association (JSA), and The Student Association for Chinese Americans (SACA), just to name a few.
Danny Tran is a junior and the Internal Vice President of the VSA. He says, “The Night Market is a way for us to give our influence when it comes to culture… When we sell food here it does not only represent us as a culture, but our traditions and how we present it to others.”
There were games and a raffle as well. Tran says, “we’ve been doing this for a couple years now… [last year] was similar to this, it was a little later at night. Because it’s earlier it’s easier for us to not only communicate, but to see each other’s faces.” The sun began to set right as the Night Market began and the cool temperature made for a great evening.
Student’s enjoyed a wide variety of foods from each club, like eggrolls, dumplings, pancit, and even boba tea. According to Tran, the clubs take note of the amount of food purchased by attendees from past years in order to gauge how much food to make for the current Night Market. “We use that as a foundation for the future,” he says.
In order to have everything ready in time, the clubs start prepping at least a few days in advance. “It just depends on the organization… for the Vietnamese Students Association, we did this probably a week in advance, like the eggrolls, we prepared a week ahead. We start wrapping, start making the ingredients, and then we start putting everything together… probably today and yesterday.”
The Asian Sister Clubs start planning for The Night Market in the spring, with a fall semester date in mind. Tran says, “[The Association for Campus Events] starts planning in spring when it comes to deciding what day it should be on… and we start preparations for everything within the month.”
Last year’s turnout was “really packed,” says Tran, “It was to a point where all hands were on deck… there were tons of faces, tons of customers. We were just happy to see that many people coming.” It was the same this year too; by the time 5:30 rolled around the Recreation Center Turf was already bustling with students and local residents. “This is an event that’s open to everyone. Of course there’s a ton of students because it’s on campus, however we welcome everyone, either professors, non-students, or anyone, if they want to be involved, play some games or meet new people,” Tran says.
Nafis Kabir is a student at UMass Lowell. He says, “I just saw [The Night Market] on the engagement site, and I thought– I like cultural foods, so, why not?… I had bhel puri and chai from SASA… it was very good.”
The Night Market is an annual event, so students who weren’t able to attend this year can look forward to next fall. If you are a fan of Asian food and culture, consider attending next year’s Night Market, or joining one of the many Asian Sister Clubs.