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Spotlight of the Week: Association of Taiwanese Students

Krzysztof Gajos -- The Tech
Members of the Association of Taiwanese Students and guests enjoy a feast at the ATS-sponsored Chinese New Year celebration in Edgerton House.
By Jean K. Lee
Staff Reporter

In celebration of the Year of the Rabbit, the Association of Taiwanese Students (ATS) held their annual New Year's banquet last week.

The new year celebration actually spans a two week period, beginning on the new moon of the first month of the lunar calendar and ending after 15 days with a full moon.

The Chinese New Year marks the gathering of families and friends for many. For ATS, it is a time for members to come together and celebrate the new year with friends. "We encourage our members to share their experiences with others and even fill in gaps in each other's familiarity with the cultural significance of the Chinese New Year," said Min-Hank Ho '00, president of ATS.

As one of the largest events run by the ATS, the banquet was open to the entire MIT community and other schools in the Boston area. Members formed cooking groups to prepare traditional dishes such as dumplings and fish for the occasion.

The New Year's banquet was just one of the many activities that ATS is involved with. In the spring, ATS participates in the International Fair and sponsors a dragonboat team for the annual Boston Dragonboat Festival, where members help to train teams and run the event. In addition, the group sponsors a radio show on WMBR radio that broadcasts Chinese music.

Most recently, ATS helped to initiate the Boston Intercollegiate Taiwanese Student Association (BITSA), in an effort to organize various cultural and social events to gather students from the Boston area.

"For students with a strong Taiwanese heritage, we try to provide a home away from home," Ho said, "For those who just would like to know more about Taiwan, we offer a cultural outlet for them to get a glimpse of Taiwan as our members know it."

Currently there are about 60 members in ATS. Another Chinese cultural group, the Chinese Students Club, also celebrated the new year with their annual banquet this past weekend.