KOKOMO, Ind. — Communication students at Indiana University Kokomo are partnering with the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance (GKEDA) to celebrate the Lantern Festival at First Friday activities this week.
The event on Friday, March 6, celebrates the festival that traditionally ends the Chinese New Year, with activities developed by students in Donna McLean’s cross cultural communication class.
Student Rebecca McVay, a student in the class, is excited to share what she’s learned, and to give back to the community.
“I hope we can encourage people not only to learn more about the world, but to be involved in their own communities, and share their skills and knowledge,” said McVay, from Logansport.
She and 18 other students are part of McLean’s intercultural communications class that will travel to China this month. Preparing for their trip, they’ve learned as much as they can about their destination, including about the Chinese New Year and the lantern festival. The class contacted GKEDA to suggest the March First Friday event incorporate the lantern festival, and led planning efforts once it was approved.
“We thought First Friday gave us a great opportunity to share these two cultural celebrations, while giving back to our community,” said McLean. “The lantern festival marks the end of Chinese New Year on March 5, so the timing is perfect.”
Susan Alexander, GKEDA business growth facilitator, was pleased to have the students involved in the planning.
“Having the students reach out to area businesses to host and highlight their researched activities and presentations has built new business relationships and formed the basis for this great community event,” she said.
During First Friday activities, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., they will help those attending create lighted lantern crafts at Planet Mind Learning Store, 108 N. Main Street. They’ve also arranged for a lantern print art exhibit by IU Kokomo fine arts students and faculty at the Kokomo Art Association Artworks Gallery, 210 N. Main Street.
In addition, Michael Koerner’s graphic design production and practice class held a promotional poster competition, with each student designing a poster for the event. Alexander and McLean selected senior Matt Oberholtzer’s poster to advertise this First Friday.
First Friday events also will include Chinese calligraphy demonstrations, taiji martial arts demonstrations, a traditional Chinese dance performance, Chinese comic book displays, photo and experience sharing from Kokomo School Corporation teachers who recently visited China, and more. For a full schedule of First Friday events, go to firstfridaykokomo.com
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.