March 26, 2008

SIUC to celebrate Asian American Heritage Month

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. — It's East meets West as cultures and peoples blend in a month long celebration at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

April is Asian American Heritage Month 2008 at SIUC and the theme is "Experience the East." From dragon boat races to the University's own "iron chef" competition, from a multiculturalism panel to historical perspectives, it's all there with much more in between.

"Asian American Heritage Month is an opportunity to examine the popular views and beliefs often held in regards to Asian Americans and, where appropriate, replace them with fair and accurate information and representation," said Carl W. Ervin, coordinator of Student Development- Multicultural Programs and Services. "The number of cultures, peoples and identities that fall under the umbrella of Asian is immense. By learning more about the different cultural heritages the ability to live, navigate and find success in a multicultural, global society is enhanced."

The schedule of events, all free and open to the public unless otherwise designated, includes:

• Saturday, March 29, 1 p.m.: Opening reception at Campus Lake Boat Dock featuring SIUC's own Far East dragon boat races. Free refreshments and information about all of the events the International Student Council and Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services are planning will be available.

• Tuesday, April 1 to Tuesday, April 8: Special exhibit, created by the International Student Council and Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services, in honor of Asian American Heritage month in the 51 South display case at the SIUC Student Center

• Saturday, April 5, 6 p.m.: It's SIUC's very own take on the popular "Iron Chef" competition at Quigley Hall in Rooms 212, 214 and 219. Visitors can taste and judge the competition cook-off's culinary delights in the fourth annual event. A U-Card happening.

• Monday, April 7, 7 p.m.: The History of Food at the Student Center's second floor auditorium. Janet Zhang, a graduate assistant in the anthropology department, answers such questions as why some Asian cultures use chopsticks, if an Asian diet is healthier for the body and more. She'll also give details about Chinese dishes and the cultural origins.

• Tuesday, April 8, 5 p.m.: Israel's foremost professional on HIV/AIDS prevention comes to the Student Center Mississippi Room. Inon J. Schenker is a renowned researcher and consultant to government ministries and numerous international agencies, garnering the title of Israel's "AIDSMAN." He's a weekly Israeli newspaper columnist and leader in "Tikkun Olam" projects, through which Israeli health experts help developing countries. Marking its 20th year, the Jerusalem AIDS Project (JAIP) is a non-profit organization focusing on HIV prevention among youth and training educators traveling to countries including Rwanda, Russia, the Philippines, Germany and other locales. The Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, the Jewish Federation of Southern Illinois, Southeastern Missouri and Western Kentucky along with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Chicago join Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services in sponsoring this U-Card event.

• Friday, April 11, 7-9 p.m.: Taste of the World Potluck at the Alumni Lounge of the Student Recreation Center. Everyone is welcome to bring their favorite dishes to share and enjoy home-cooked foods prepared by international students and organizations celebrating various heritages. To participate, contact the International Student Council at

• Tuesday, April 15, 7 p.m.: Second Annual Redefining Multiculturalism in 2008, featuring a panel of SIUC faculty and administrators representing a variety of departments discussing multiculturalism and how it's viewed by today's standards. Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority Inc. is sponsoring this event, with audience interaction and questions welcomed at the Saline Room at the Student Center.

• Wednesday, April 16, 7 p.m.: "China, Japan & India: The Rise of America's Strategic Competitors," featuring award-winning journalist and New York Times White House correspondent David Sanger expanding understanding of globalization. The Paul Simon Public Policy Institute is sponsoring the speech, set for the Law School Auditorium. A U-Card event.

• Friday, April 18, 7 p.m.: fAScInAtioN, an Asian fashion show featuring traditional and contemporary designs from numerous Asian countries. Set for the Quigley Hall Auditorium, it's a chance to see how Asia influences and shapes the fashion world. Dance performances and a live disc jockey are also on the playbill.

• Monday, April 21, 7 p.m.: Asian and Middle Eastern Cultural Fair in Ballroom A of the Student Center. It's a great opportunity to learn more about the exotic cultures, languages and countries of Asia and the Middle East, make new friends and acquaintances and even learn to write your name in a different language. A U-Card event.

• Wednesday, April 23, 7 p.m.: Middle Eastern Myth Busters, a panel discussion giving the real truths about Middle Eastern cultures and peoples in a fun, myth-busting format in the Mississippi Room of the Student Center. A U-Card event.

• Thursday, April 24, 7 p.m.: The Palestinian Non-Violence Movement presentation features a film chronicling the movement and discussion facilitated by Hale Hilmaz, SIUC history department assistant professor. The evening at the Kaskaskia/Missouri Room of the Student Center offers a history of the Middle East, including the Arab-Israeli conflict, and it's a U-Card event.

• Friday, April 25, 7 p.m.: Middle East Hafla and Buffet at Davis-McCann Center, 1410 Walnut St. in Murphysboro. The SIUC Middle Eastern Dance Enthusiasts and the Nile Breeze Dance Company are teaming up to host a night of Middle Eastern dance, music and dining with a buffet filled with Middle Eastern and North African foods. The cost is $10. For more information or reservations, e-mail Rose at, Tedi at or Sedonia at

• Saturday, April 26, 3 p.m.: Fifth Annual Mariachi Poetry Night at Dunn-Richmond Economic Development Center. Sponsored by Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, semi-formal attire is encouraged for this time of traditional music, food and poetry.

• Sunday, April 27, 1-4 p.m.: Asian American Heritage Month closing picnic at the Campus Lake Boat Docks wrapping up the month-long celebration with free food, music, and entertainment courtesy of Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity.

The SIUC Student Center Craft Shop is getting in the spirit of things with a variety of special craft sessions and activities in conjunction with Asian American Heritage Month 2008. Details are available at the Craft Shop, located in the lower level of the Student Center, or by calling 618/453-3636.

Student Center Craft Shop Asian American Heritage Month offerings, set for the Craft Shop unless otherwise noted, include:

• Thursdays, March 27 to April 24, 6-8 p.m. each week: Raku pottery, a workshop creating pottery with the 16th century Japanese firing process called "Raku," there's basic pottery skill instruction in hand building and wheel throwing with the Raku firing date of April 26. Cost is $25 for SIUC students and $35 for others with an extra charge for the clay.

• Tuesdays, April 1 to 15, 6-8 p.m.: Sushi class and ceramics, with participants making a Sushi plate, cups and bowls in the first two sessions and then preparing Sushi the final week. The cost is $25 for SIUC students and $35 for others and covers all materials.

• Various days April 3-25, 6:30-7:30 p.m. each evening there'll be origami workshops allowing people to make different folded paper creations each week utilizing an art form developed by the Chinese and later adopted by the Japanese. The special pricing this month is $2 and here's the origami schedule: paper cranes – Thursday, April 3; owl – Thursday, April 10; dinosaur – Monday, April 14; and warrior's helmet, Friday, April 25.

• April 4-12: Kite festival. You can make a kite between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. April 4-11. The cost is $5 for a basic kite kit. It's time to "Fly a Kite," either using one made at the Craft Shop or any other kite, from 1 to 5 p.m. April 11-12 at Sam Rinella Field.

• Fridays, April 4-25, 5-9 p.m.: Henna body art. Many Asian countries have practiced this non-permanent tattoo art for special occasions for thousands of years. The cost is $2 and tattooing takes just minutes.

• Tuesday, April 15, 6-8 p.m.: Just Want to Make Sushi is a workshop that shows participants how to do just that, from cooking vinegared rice to roll nori and making sushi, you wrap up by sampling your work. The cost is $10 for SIUC students and $12 for others.

• Saturday, April 26, 1-3 p.m.: Japanese Tea Ceremony and Drum Circle, in conjunction with the Raku firing, on the south patio of the SIUC Student Center.

Old Main Restaurant at the SIUC Student Center gets in on the action too with Sushi at the Old Main Restaurant 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, with hand-rolled sushi and other Asian cuisine served in an all-you-can-eat buffet for $6.75. For additional information or reservations, call 618/453-1130.

Asian American Heritage Month sponsors are the International Student Council, Palestine Student Group, Student Center Craft Shop, Department of Animal Science-Food and Nutrition, United Asian American Council, Sigma Lambda Beta Fraternity, Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, Student Programming Council, Hillel Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority and Student Development-Multicultural Programs and Services.

For more information about the numerous special events contact Student Development- Multicultural Programs and Services on the third floor of the Student Center or by calling 618/453-5714. Details are also on the Web site at