Published: April 29, 2024 By

The numerous heritages among the Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) community was on full display at the AAPI: All New Year Festival at CU Boulder in early April. 

More than 450 people attended the event, which featured important cultural aspects through art, music, dance, language and cuisine.  

“It was such an amazing experience,” said Emily Landingham, a graduating student in molecular, cellular and developmental biology. “This event brought students, family members, staff and all different cultures of the AAPI community together. I hope this strengthens the AAPI community on campus.” 

From taekwondo martial arts performances, South Asian fusion dance and Indian classical dancing to live music in Nepalese, the festival was an evening of cultural celebration showcasing the wide diversity of the AAPI identity. Plus, anyone who came hungry was treated to cuisines like dumplings, paneer, curry, eggs rolls, sushi and edamame. 

Cross campus culture collaboration

Hosted by CU Boulder’s Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE), the student society was inspired by Chinese and Vietnamese New Year, which traditionally takes place in either January or February. 

“We realized that a lot of our members, despite being under the umbrella of being Asian, are diverse in many backgrounds,” said Helen Do, vice president of culture for SASE. “We wanted to create a festival that gave opportunities for organizations to share traditions of other AAPI identities in a space that everyone feels they belong and thrive in. ” 

All New Year Festival GroupPlanning started in the fall semester, when they secured sponsors through the Cultural Events Board, CU Student Government and the Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering. 

SASE also partnered with other BOLD Center organizations, such as oSTEMWomen in Aeronautics and Astronautics (WOAA) and the American Association of Engineers of Indian Origin (AAEIO), as well as student groups from across campus. 

“Seeing all the different organizations from across campus bringing the event to life really made me happy,” said Landingham. “Especially when a lot of these organizations hadn’t really interacted before, it was great to see everyone learn from each other and bring their own members to this celebration.”  

Beyond wanting to create a fun and inviting event, the festival was an opportunity for learning and inclusivity. 

Do noted how collaborating with other student societies, Asian-identifying or not, was important to AAPI student groups space to share their cultures and also for non-AAPI student groups to learn about another culture in preparation for the event. 

“We were especially grateful to oSTEM and WOAA, who ran our calligraphy and henna stations,” said Do. “They took a lot of care and research about the art and cultures they were representing at the event.”  

Learning through culture and community 

All New Year Festival Group 2Attendees were able to get a cultural glimpse of traditions from countries including China, Korea, India, Myanmar, Philippines, Japan, Vietnam and Nepal. 

Through the help of the festival collaborators, “student groups ran different booths representing countries,” said Kelly Clingan, public relations officer of SASE. “It was incredible seeing people learning about our traditions through joy and positivity.” 

“We wanted an event that was representative of those different cultures and that we would really do them justice, because even within an Asian organization, we definitely can overlook specific parts of each culture,” said Clingan. “We’re so happy this festival celebrated AAPI cultures throughout campus.” 

If you’re excited to learn more about AAPI cultures, you’re in luck. SASE plans to hold this festival next spring with the hopes of bringing community through more culture and celebration. 

Photo Credit: Marleigh Hill; Top Photo: CU Milana; Middle Photo: CU Abhinaya


The Center for Student Involvement and Colorado Creed recognizes student organizations who exemplify leadership and engagement across campus and the Boulder community. 

Congratulations to SASE for receiving the following 2024 Campus Involvement Awards

  • Cultural Event of the Year Award - AAPI: All New Year Festival
  • Student Organization of the Year Award - Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers
  • Rising Star Award - Kelly Clingan (Public Relations Chair) 

SASE Campus Involvement Fair 2024

Photo Credit: Center for Student Involvement; Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers at the Campus Involvement Awards Ceremony 2024