Competition showcases Asian culture, raises money for charity

Jasleen Shokar

UT students jumped and slid across the stage in unison before a deep red backdrop as Drake’s “Big Rings” blasted around the auditorium, and the crowd roared deafeningly.

The Eta chapter of alpha Kappa Delta Phi and the Texas Chinese Student Association opened Origins, an Asian-American cultural showcase performance, with a fusion of hip-hop and traditional Chinese dancing, on Thursday.

The show featured several UT Asian dance groups and slam poets who performed to show the beauty of the traditional Asian and Asian-American cultures.

“We know that the Asian-American population at UT is getting larger, but we are still a minority,” Kat Wong, alpha Kappa Delta Phi vice president of services, said. “We are trying to raise awareness for Asian-Americans here
on campus.”  

Each dance team competed to win $100 for a charity of their choosing. The winner of the competition will be announced sometime Friday.

“Our philanthropy helps people with leukemia and other types of cancer,” said David Kim, finance and history senior and a member of Lambda Phi Epsilon. “Our performance is a Korean folk song called ‘Arirang’ and is about Korean culture, and it’s a very famous traditional song that people in Korea sing.”  

Wong said a showcase is a better way to spread awareness than other fundraisers such as selling food, because it better engages the community.

“Sometimes people forget when they eat the food what it’s raising awareness for, but a performance directly emphasizes certain elements of Asian culture that aren’t prevalent in everyday life,” Wong said.

Sangbin Kwon, director of the Korean Dance Crew, said the most important aspect of the event is its role in helping to spread Asian culture throughout campus.

“There really hasn’t been an event that showcases Asian talent and cultural awareness at one event,” said Kwon, an economics senior. “Helping to get this started as a yearly thing that continues on for a good, long time would be
really awesome.”

Origins is unique because it focuses on the cultural aspects of Asian organizations, said Tiger Wu, president of Chinese Students Association.

“At times, there is a divide between Asian Greek culture and other Asian organizations on campus,” said Wu, a senior electrical engineer. “Our goal is to unite those two groups on campus. All these orgs on campus has the same common goals as we do, and our goal is to reinforce them.”