Last Friday, the Chinese American Students Association held their annual formal at the Heffner Alumni House. This is the third venue they’ve had in the past three years, albeit last year’s blizzard forced them to host the event in the McNeil Room a week later. The weather wasn’t on their side, but the weather cooperated this time. The location was difficult for many freshmen to locate, but the venue was definitely nice. CASA obviously put in a lot of effort this year with Chinese takeout centerpieces complete with carnations in a vase as well as balloons, a candle, and two origami horses. CASA hosts their annual formal to celebrate the New Year according to the lunar calendar. I asked a CASA member why they host the event so late. They gave a valid reason of needing more time to organize the event once students came back from Winter Break.
As I entered, I was handed a red envelope with a “gong xi fa cai.” Traditionally, red envelopes filled with money are given to children by adults. I wasn’t expecting much from a Union-funded club, so a fruit gummy and raffle tickets sufficed. At the check-in table, CASA showcased the prizes for the raffle. The prizes were definitely tailored for girls, mostly plushies. If I had won, I would’ve given the minion or the Totoro to my date, if I had one. The event started with Brian Yu ’14 as the emcee. He used to be the butt end of the lion but apparently got out of that duty this year. The two performers for lion dance this year were totally new at it. They interacted with the audience. Considering it was their first performance, they were good. Next were two of RPI’s dance clubs, Eighth Wonder and Street Dance. Both were good, but I thought the performance ended too quickly. It was almost a competition of which was the best. Don’t hate on me, but I think Street Dance won. Overall though, the performances were good and everyone enjoyed it.
Dinner was served buffet style. It was nice to not eat Sodexo food on campus. I got my plateful of food on a Styrofoam plate. I wish that it was really a buffet so that I could’ve gotten back in line and taken as much as I wanted for seconds. After food, there were a few interactive games with the audience. Whoever said musical chairs is a game for kids can take that back. College guys take that game really seriously. Skid marks were left on the dance floor afterward. As someone in the audience, it was really funny watching everyone struggle. It was surprisingly enjoyable. Following musical chairs, there was a chopstick relay in which pairs would relay gummy candy with chopsticks. I didn’t know there was going to be more food served, but dessert replaced the desecrated buffet line. Dessert consisted of almond jello with some fruit. It was a nice, light way to end the meal.
After dessert, it was free time to dance and take pictures in the photo booth. I didn’t know where the DJ was, but I need to give props to him. He did an awesome job. The guys from RPI Photo Club looked professional with their DSLRs. Raffle prizes were announced a bit later. I didn’t win anything, go figure. The music and dancing continued to the end. Too bad most of RPI is too nerdy or feels uncomfortable to dance at a “formal” event. All in all, it was an enjoyable night. The absolute worst part was slipping on black ice on my way out.