Five Asian organizations on campus held its first annual Winter Cotillion Thursday to establish unity among Asian-American students.
A cotillion is a traditional Filipino coming of age ceremony for a girl around the time of her 18th birthday. Similar to a “sweet sixteen” party, a cotillion is a way of ushering a girl into adulthood and presenting her as a young woman to the rest of the community.
Christine Dela Rosa, the event’s main organizer, said the cotillion promoted multi-ethnic awareness among groups.
“This young girl (and guest of honor), Adette, really represents all of us,” she said. “All young girls are ushered into their community of family and friends, and are confronted with the men that will represent different traditional and cultural parts of her life.”
The Philippine Cultural Society, Vietnamese Student Association, Chinese American Student Association, Asian Student Alliance and Korean Student Association sponsored Thursday’s event in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom.
“The Asian groups on campus have rarely come together for one event. Instead of holding individual semi-formals, we thought it would be better to present an evening that would encourage people to come together and share a night of different cultural traditions,” said Mai Dang, president of the Asian Student Alliance.
Each group provided a home-cooked part of the meal that catered to more than 150 guests. Homemade centerpieces adorned the tables, ranging from a stuffed panda bear to a Filipino flag to a goldfish bowl with live fish.
A DJ provided the music, and each organization performed traditional ballroom dancing characteristic of a Cotillion and some modern dances.
“Tonight is really an amazing accomplishment for all of us,” said Roy Guinto, a member of two organizations and the evening’s emcee. “Before tonight, most of the Asian student groups on campus didn’t interact. But throughout planning this, so many great friendships have been made.”