On May 7, the Filipino American Association of Sonoma State University hosted its 11th annual Pacific Cultural Night in Ballroom B for the enjoyment of Sonoma State students. Although this event has been going on for 11 years, this was the first virtual showcase they have done.
Each year, FAASSU and other clubs host a multitude of events throughout the month of May to promote and showcase Asian American and Pacific Islander culture during Asian American and Pacific Islander Month. Vivian Stegura, a third-year creative writing major, said, “This is my first year at FAASSU and I’m loving it so far; for me, the club is about learning and understanding my culture better, it makes me feel more connected to others and makes me feel like I have a home here.
Pacific Cultural Night (PCN), held in Ballroom B of the Student Center, was a celebration of Filipino and Polynesian culture through dances and celebrations. The students were ushered into the ballroom to see rows of chairs and a giant screen with the PCN video showcase ready to go when all the students were seated. After everyone settled into the ballroom, FAASSU President Hannah Alferez introduced everyone to the PCN Virtual Video Showcase, featuring several cultural dances and choreographies throughout the video. 26 minutes.
Some of the dances shown were: The Hula, a dance to portray the words of Oli or Mele; Tinkling, a dance to imitate the movements of birds on sticks; Haka, a cultural dance from New Zealand to represent Maori passion and pride; Kapwa, which is a dance with modern hip hop elements; and Magalatik, which is meant to mimic a fight between dancers. Each dance in the video was accompanied by a small on-screen intro explaining what the dance was and where it came from, such as the Hula, a “Polynesian dance that can be done sitting down or standing up. The dance is usually accompanied by singing or chanting”.
Each dance would show previous years’ PCN performances from 2016 and travel to their last in-person pre-pandemic showcase in 2020, then transition to the current years’ dance filmed across campus in Student Ballroom A , Person Theater , and Parking F near the Tuscan Village.
Sacha Wedner, who appeared in some of the dances throughout the showcase, said, “Honestly, I would say this event was pretty fun, coming from someone who participated in a few dances. In all seriousness, it means a lot to me, coming from a half-Filipino background myself, and I’ve found it to be a new way to connect with my heritage. Also, I thought it was super cool to have the opportunity to introduce it to other students.
Once the presentation video was over, the president of FAASSU, Alferez, again took the podium to make a short outing and introduce the new board of directors, the Friendship Games Board, which is working on the preparation of the games. Friendship organized by different Filipino-American Associations, and Senior Graduates of the Filipino-American Association. Yellow roses were given to each new member of the board as a commemorative symbol.
After the show, Anthony Tha May, a fourth-year Applied Mathematics student, said, “The event helped promote different cultures and how they all came together with dance. It was cool to see the different dances from each culture and I could definitely see that it brought people together, that’s the beauty of it all.
FAASSU and other clubs on campus will hold more events throughout the school year, such as the Asian-American Pacific Island Spectators (AAPI) training on May 12 to show people different techniques to prevent verbal harassment to escalate into physical harassment in response. to the upsurge in hate incidents targeting the Asian American community.