On the afternoon of Friday, April 15, the Conversation Corner and Mandarin Club hosted a dumpling party in the Rensselaer Society of Engineers’ kitchen and dining room. The dumpling party has been hosted in the past at Professor Yue Jianling’s home and is going into into its fourth anniversary as a semesterly event. Finding it too small of a space to host such an event, the club moved their location last semester when one of Yue’s students, an RSE brother, offered the use of the house’s facilities. After a successful dumpling party last semester, the club decided to host this semester’s party, once again, at RSE’s house.
Both members and guests participated in the event. Ingredients were mixed in a large bowl, and people took turns making dumplings with the dough wrappers. While some were fried and others boiled, hundreds of dumplings were made and consumed that day. People from different parts of China would show the vast difference in dumpling-making techniques and how it differed depending upon the individual’s place of birth. It was not only a fun and hands-on event, but an educational one as well; both English and Chinese were spoken readily throughout the afternoon.
CCMC is a club dedicated to providing a platform for Chinese-speaking students and English-speaking students to come together and learn each other’s languages. Not only do participants learn a new language, but they also immerse themselves in the other’s culture. The club is frequented by students of Professor Yue as well as many Chinese students interested in sharing their culture.
After meeting with Club President Jiaying Yu ’17, Club Vice President Melissa Henry ’19, Club Secretary Tom Stefancic ’19, and members Darwin Ding ’17 and Rebecca Martin ’17 for a brief interview, they explained that, “every semester, our professor goes out to a lot of foreign students who come to the US … and [brings] them to our meetings so she can get them to learn English in a friendlier setting.” The club has integrated both international and American students in events such as the Chinese New Year gala performance. The club hosts a myriad of events like this and the dumpling party, such as paper lantern-making and calligraphy lessons.
The mission of CCMC is to bridge the gap between students of different nationalities and backgrounds. “Language shouldn’t be a barrier between people,” said Yu. “We are really welcoming to all people of all levels … College is about expanding horizons. Show up to our Conversation Corner.”
At first, the Conversation Corner and the Mandarin Club were two separate organizations. After recently obtaining Rensselaer Union recognition, the two became one. The current number of members ranges between 20 and 30 people. For those interested in expanding their linguistic horizons, meetings are held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Sage 4510 from 6–8 pm.