Enchant the Night brings the Asian community together
Asian-focused clubs have come together to bring back the annual formal for Asian students in the McMaster community
McMaster Asian Federation of Charitable University Students , McMaster Chinese Students Association, Filipino McMaster Student Association and McMaster Vietnamese Students’ Association collaborated to bring Asian Formal themed “Enchant the Night” on Mar. 10 at the Grand Olympia .
This event featured a night of performances, dancing, dinner, a snack bar and raffles. It was sponsored by the McMaster Students Union and the McMaster Alumni Association. Their snack bar was sponsored by local Asian businesses, such as Momoco Donuts and Lemon Bar.
The Asian Formal started at McMaster University in 2014 when one of the MVSA co-presidents proposed to collaborate with other Asian clubs at Mac to host a formal and it has been an annual tradition ever since. It took a pause during the COVID-19 pandemic and this is the first year it came back. This is also one of the few years where they had great turnout for the event with over 80 tickets sold within two minutes.
For many third-year students and below, this may be their first formal experience in university. It is true for some of the members of the planning committee as well.
“This is my first ever formal. Before then it was just a story that were told from upper years and Asian Focus. The idea has [always] been there, but I've never actually seen it in real life,” said Sophia Van, the co-president of AF and the head of sponsorships for the formal.
This year they aspired to be as inclusive as possible to make sure all Asian identities would feel included through their decorations and food. They acknowledge that Filipino, Vietnamese, Chinese and the cultures covered by AF do not encompass everything.
“We acknowledge that the name Asian Formal itself . . . might not be super inclusive . . . so this year, we're trying to step away from the name Asian Formal. Which is why we're referring to it as Enchant the Night, or the MVSA, FMSA, AF and CSA collaborative formal,” said Beverly Tran, the co-president of MVSA and the head of the performance subcommittee for the formal.
In the past, the performers at the formal came from their own clubs and they would only have three performances. However, this year, they opened submissions to the general McMaster community and had a total of seven diverse performances, including vocal, dance, poetry and cultural instrument playing.
The purpose of the formal was to promote diversity and inclusion and for the Asian community to come together and celebrate their culture.
“The whole idea of this formal is to celebrate culture. So hopefully, they come with a bit of appreciation for not only their own culture, but [also] celebrating others that are attending the formal,” said Ryan Jay, the co-president of FMSA.
Not only does the formal allow students to wind down and have fun, but it also provided an opportunity for everyone to appreciate the diversity at McMaster. The comeback of the Asian Formal tradition allowed the McMaster community to continue to recognize the importance of sharing and celebrating various cultures within the community.