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Chinese culture comes to USF

USF students wishing to experience a taste of Oriental culture can now do so without leaving campus.

The Third Annual Chinese Culture Festival, which is today in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., provides the opportunity for students to immerse themselves in Chinese culture for free.

The event was originally designed as a class project for an Honors geographic perspectives class on China taught by Philip Bishop, an adjunct instructor of philosophy in the USF Honors College.

The first time I taught the class, I had an undefined class project, Bishop said. Many ideas were put forward, (but) the one that really gained traction was the Chinese Festival.

Bishop said the festival will commence with a lion dance and feature a variety of performances, including Chinese acrobats, martial arts demonstrations, Chinese storytelling and Chinese musicians playing traditional instruments. Performances will be from 11 a.m. to noon.

Bishop also said the festival will feature numerous interactive and informational booths, through which students will be able to play traditional games, including the Chinese Yo-Yo, learn Chinese etiquette and write their name in calligraphy.

The events program contains a few simple questions about Chinese culture. A stamp will be received for each correct answer, which together, will result in the image of a Chinese symbol.

This will serve as the ticket for food. The Chinese cuisine, mostly in the form of finger foods, will come from the local Fushia Asian Bistro, and will be accompanied by tea from Kaleisia Tea Lounge.

Bishop said the festival attracted more than 1,000 people last year. Nesreen Nimer, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, was one of last years attendees.

I cant wait for the festival, Nimer said. Last year, I loved the woman that balanced a table on her forehead and spun plates at the same time, so Im hoping to see more crazy acrobatics at this one.

The Chinese Culture Festival has since become a Tampa community event in attendance will be USF students and more than 200 K-12 students, as well as community members.

Erica Turke, a junior majoring in biomedical sciences, further broadened the reach of the festival by contacting the Suncoast Association of Chinese Americans and the Chinese American Association of Tampa Bay. They became involved in the festival by providing a costume for a student-performed dragon dance that will close the event.

The festival also features several speakers USF Honors College Dean Stuart Silverman, USF Confucius Institute Director Kun Shi, Provost Ralph Wilcox and Karen Holbrook, senior vice president for Research, Innovation and Global Affairs.

Bishop said the festival will offer many educational opportunities in an expanding emphasis on Eastern culture at USF.

(Students) can learn about the programs available at USF for Chinese language and culture through some of our informational booths, he said. (The festival) is one of the growing number of East-meets-West events on campus.

The festival is co-sponsored by the USF Honors College, the USF Confucius Institute, the Chinese Culture & Language Club, the Chinese Students & Scholars Association and INTO USF.