The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

MSS hosts five events to celebrate heritage months

Preview of MSS Heritage Month events
Photo by Cade Fisher
All of the events planned for April are free events open to students and the community.

April is Hmong Heritage Month and May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Due to the length of the academic year, Multicultural Student Services will be hosting events the rest of the month to celebrate both heritage months.

Xia Xiong, a student service coordinator at MSS and lead organizer of this month’s events, said that the heritage month events are connected to the overall theme of “how we can reimagine our community.”

“It’s really just coming together as a community to celebrate the successes and contributions that certain people have contributed to society through history,” Xiong said.

To start off the month, MSS invited Kao Kalia Yang to share her experiences. Yang is a Hmong-American author, librettist, public speaker and teacher. On April 1, Yang held a discussion with students and community members regarding her experiences writing as an Asian American.

After the discussion, Yang held a Q&A and book signing. Her books “Where Rivers Part: A Story of My Mother’s Life” and “The Rock in My Throat” were for sale at the UW-Eau Claire bookstore for people to buy before the discussion.

The second scheduled event is a button making and art session from 1-3 p.m. on Monday, April 8 in the MSS office. The event is titled “The Art of Arrangement: Mandala-inspired Button Making and Crafts.”

According to Britanica, a Mandala is a symbolic design used in sacred rites and meditation in Hinduism and Buddhism. Mandala’s represent the universe and are symbolic in China, Japan and Tibet.

Lee Rutzinski, a second-year ISC (or integrated strategic communications) public relations student, said they followed MSS on Instagram and saw the posters around campus for the events and are excited for the events.

“I think they [heritage months] are really important to one, just to give more information to students who may not know about it, but also just to create a safe space. A place of welcoming for students that do celebrate those months or have those heritages,” Rutzinski said.

The next event scheduled is a viewing of the film “Minari.” The film will be shown at 5 p.m. on April 16 in the Woodland Theater of Davies Student Center.

The film follows a Korean-American family who move to Arkansas to follow the “American Dream.” The film follows the perspective of an immigrant family adapting to the U.S. and trying to uphold culture traditions

The fourth event of the month invites another special guest to campus. MSS and the music department are inviting the Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra, a Taiwan based orchestra devoted to promoting traditional Chinese music.

The orchestra was founded in 2000 by Chih-Sheng Chen, the director and conductor of the group. The performance is from 7-9 p.m. on April 24 in the Gantner Concert Hall of the Haas Fine Arts Center.

“I think people should go to these events, even if they have no idea what it’s going to be about or they feel nervous,” Rutzinski said. “ One, it’s a great way to meet new people and two, they are always really, really fun.”

The final scheduled event for AAPI heritage month is titled “Cultivating Community: Finding Yourself Through Activism & Art” and will host food, a special guest speaker and entertainment. The banquet is from 5-7 p.m. on April 30 in the Ojibwe Ballroom in Davies.

The guest speaker is Brooke Newmaster, the founder of Jang-Mi Arts and teacher of Jan-Mi Korean Dance, Drum & Music Group, will be speaking at the event. She and her team will also play traditional Korean drums during the banquet.

“It’s open to all of campus and the local Eau Claire community members to come. All the events are free, so whichever may seem interesting I would like to invite everyone to come and be in community,” Xiong said.

To learn more about what MSS is up to and the events they host you can go to their website, Instagram, or Facebook.

Fisher can be reached at [email protected]

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