The historical Chinese policy of “Panda Diplomacy” has resurfaced through a Chinese culture club on campus.
As a relatively new club, Pandamonium has only hosted one event so far. But on Saturday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., members are co-hosting a dorm party with the Chinese House Living-Learning Community in Teague Residence Hall.
Junior James Holden said Pandamonium seeks to foster more friendships between Chinese and American students on campus.
Holden said founding member Jialing Jiang came up with the idea for the club last fall, but the first official event wasn’t until January.
“The club was partly inspired by ‘panda diplomacy’ from China where they gave pandas to other countries, and Jiang said we should do something like that here,” Holden said.
With only five core members and one event under their belts, Holden said Pandamonium relies on the connections made between other Chinese groups on campus to help host events.
“In the Pandamonium family, we don’t really have members, it’s more of friends,” he said. “A lot of people help out and volunteer — about half and half American and Chinese.”
For Saturday’s event, Pandamonium has joined forces with the Chinese LLC and its student coordinator, sophomore Linda Zhang.
Zhang said Jiang contacted her last semester in order to plan the dorm party, where attendees will be making and eating dumplings, listening to Chinese music and playing games like Ping-Pong.
“We just want to bring together all the Chinese organizations on campus and to promote Chinese culture to those who aren’t immediately interested,” Zhang said.
Pandamonium seeks to inform students that there is a large Chinese community on campus by connecting the smaller groups on campus with one another.
“‘Miao Hui’ was an imitation of a Chinese street carnival, and we wanted to create that environment in the Pit,” Holden said. “In combination with (the Friendship Association of Chinese Students and Scholars), we had various Chinese games and calligraphy, a kung fu demonstration and handcrafted activities like origami.”
Senior Roy Tian is the president of FACSS, the biggest Chinese organization at UNC, and said the group was mainly responsible for the “Miao Hui” activities held in the Pit Jan. 27.
“Our purpose is to let people in the U.S. learn more about Chinese culture, let them have fun and give all the international students from China a sense of belonging during the days before Chinese New Year,” Tian said. “This is when all the family members are supposed to get together.”
Zhang said she thinks Pandamonium is doing things that smaller Chinese organizations can’t necessarily do.
“They help break misconceptions about China and Chinese culture, people and language,” she said. “But the main purpose of the group is to have fun and make a diverse group of friends.”
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