It is the Year of the Snake according to the Chinese calendar, and close to 500 young alumni came to celebrate at the Metropolitan Hotel.
This high-spirited SHAKER event in Chinatown was not only an occasion for recent graduates to gather but a coming-out party for the University of Toronto Chinese Alumni Association, which partnered with Alumni Relations in organizing a dazzling array of activities to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
In founding the UTCAA, “each one of us wanted to bring back and celebrate the communities of close friends and respected colleagues who brought so much joy, meaning and personal growth to our lives,” UTCAA President Jeffrey Ma, one of the founders of the group, told the assembled guests.
“We believe firmly that this organization has the potential to use good memories and common dedication to help our friends and the university to achieve their most important goals.”
The reception featured lion dancers, fortune tellers and a lantern puzzle booth. Calligraphers were on hand to render names in elegant Chinese characters or to inscribe a New Year greeting. Red pockets, a traditional Chinese symbol of goodwill, were abundant.
More than 20 volunteers, including founding board member Shawn Xiao, assisted in decorating the rooms with lanterns and stacking tables with Chinese delicacies.
“Great event, great time, great idea,” wrote one alumnus on the Life After Graduation Facebook page.
SHAKER events bring together young alumni in vibrant urban settings that encourage networking and social interaction. The February 7 SHAKER marked the first formal collaboration with the UTCAA.
There could be no doubt of its success. The almost 500 Alumni in attendance reflect the impressive diversity of U of T’s student and alumni body, with young alumni from many cultures coming together to celebrate and learn about the traditions of the Lunar New Year. In addition, the fledgling UTCAA added more than 200 names to its mailing list – an exciting and important recognition of the value of the many communities which define U of T.
“Every alumnus of the University of Toronto is part of a rich and diverse global community of over half a million members,” said Barbara Dick, Assistant Vice President (Alumni Relations) in her remarks to the guests. “This event is just one of our ways of telling you how much you mean to the University.”
SHAKER is one of many programs designed to keep alumni connected. Keep abreast of the latest events on the U of T alumni website.
Be sure to visit the Life After Graduation Facebook page photo stream for pictures from the event.