2007 is an auspicious moment to begin such a tradition. This is the year of the Golden Pig, a date recorded only once every 600 years in Chinese zodiac calendars. Babies born this year are considered more likely than normal to be intelligent, honest, lucky and prosperous. The date holds enough allure that some have already voiced concerns about a "Golden Pig"-inspired baby boomlet in many Asian nations.
For its first year in existence the Lunar New Year celebration was a smash hit. According to organizer and Ford School student Sup Thanasombat, "about 120 students, faculty, and administrators participated. Not only did policy students participate in the celebration, but students from the business school, SNRE, psychology, economics, women studies, public health, law, engineering, sociology, and even the dental and medical schools came by as well." Professor Ann Lin staffed a "Chinese Name" table while nearly a dozen student volunteers served food, distributed information, and handed out traditional red envelopes symbolizing good luck. "Events like this," said Thanasonbat, "bring the Ford School together, show off our talents and highlight the various cultures that are represented at the school."
Funding was provided by SCOR (Students of Color of Rackham) and the Ford School, with primary organizing responsibilities taken up by the Asia Pacific Islander American Caucus of SCOR and Students of Color of Public Policy.
Normally a place for quiet study, the 3rd floor reading room in Weill Hall was full of activity this past February 13th. Dozens of students packed in among tables laden with Asian foods, mahjong games, and cultural poster displays for two hours to celebrate the first annual Ford School Lunar New Year festival.