Saturday, May 21 2022

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Lunar New Year is an important annual celebration for Chinese and other communities in East and Southeast Asia. Also called the Spring Festival in China, today, February 1, approximately 1.5 billion people around the world and here at Syracuse University celebrated the start of the new lunar cycle and the Year of the Tiger.

Historically, in Chinese culture, the 12 Chinese zodiac animals are used to represent each year. 2021 was represented by the ox, while this new year is represented by the tiger.

Here at SU, the Esports Club celebrated by hosting a Chinese New Year/Spring Gala Festival in the esports hall. The Gaming Center is located in the basement of Barnes Center at The Arch and provides all the equipment for an immersive gaming experience. It is accessible to all SU and SUNY-ESF students.

The game room was decorated with traditional Chinese red lanterns hanging from the ceiling and Spring Festival couplets posted on the door, which read, “I wish you peace and safety wherever you go.”



“Since we have a lot of different students from different backgrounds and countries, it would be a good idea to start these kinds of events,” said Joe Lawlor, an SU senior and Esports club supervisor. “It’s a really cool way to show different perspectives coming together.”

Some SU students, including graduate student Jiachen Li, shared the significance of this celebration.

“The tiger, generally speaking, as a symbol of this year, I think it means a lot,” Li said. “It means being fierce first; this means that we must be aggressive in this new year.

Traditionally, Li celebrated the Chinese New Year by lighting fireworks and spending time with his family. This year, he welcomed the New Year by celebrating with his friends and playing.

The tiger, in general, as a symbol of this year, I think it means a lot. First it means to be fierce, it means we have to be aggressive in this new year.

Jiachen Li, graduate student at Syracuse University

In honor of the Lunar New Year, the gaming center, which owns video game consoles like the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 4 Pro and Nintendo Switch, launched its $2,000 virtual reality console, the HTC Cheers, to the participants of the event and decorated the room in honor of the new year. Lawlor and Lauren Wiener, SU graduate student and esports graduate program coordinator, shared what the center prepared today in honor of the event.

“Today is going to be the first VR test for beginners, so anyone who has never used VR before,” Wiener said. “We thought today would be a really good day for the premiere because it’s a whole new experiential adventure in the room.”

The new virtual reality console, the HTC Vive, is full-room scale, allowing the player to bend, jump and move in different directions in as large a space as possible.

At the event, students could either play serious games with friends in competitive MMOs (massively multiplayer online games) or relax with casual games like Mario Kart.

Wiener said the goal of the Chinese New Year/Spring Gala Festival was to make the party a communal celebration, where everyone could explore their individual interests through play.

“We’re really excited to have people come in and enjoy the day together,” Wiener said. “We find that people in general really like to congregate in the play space because it’s a place where everyone can find something to enjoy.”

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