February 8, 2016 was a special day for Chinese all over the world. It was Chinese New Year’s Day, celebrating the first day of the Year of Monkey. For all the students from Wenzhou-Kean University, this day was more special than before. We could have reunited with family and enjoyed the holiday, but we were in America – about 7,000 miles away from home. However, we did have a unique Spring Festival at Kean University. Every visiting student from Wenzhou-Kean University was invited to have a luncheon with school leadership and mentors in the Don Conklin Conference Center on the sixth floor of STEM Building, where we could see New York City from the window. In the afternoon, wonderful shows and activities were prepared to celebrate Chinese New Year at Miron Student Center. The day was not only a traditional festival for Chinese students, but also a meaningful cultural interaction.

Mr. Philip Connelly, Executive Vice President for Operations, delivered a speech on behalf of President Dr. Dawood Farahi. Mr. Connelly is a humorous person opening his speech with Chinese blessings: “Xin Nian Kuai Le,” “Gong Xi Fa Cai,” and we all laughed. He has been to China for almost 30 times and feels glad to have a partner in Wenzhou. The global community is a good chance for both KU and WKU to embrace different culture and new way of thinking.

Ms. Janice Murray-Laury, Vice President for Student Affairs, was the host for this luncheon. Ms. Janice was good at enlivening the room’s atmosphere and she specially wore a red scarf for Chinese New Year. She emphasized the communication and connection between KU and WKU, saying that KU is WKU students’ home in America.

Dr. Jeff Toney is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He gave a short speech in which he welcomed all the visiting students from China and hoped everyone could take advantage of the learning environment at Kean.

Ms. Janice Murray-Laury (center, sitting), Vice President for Student Affairs and Ms. Maximina Rivera (center, standing), Assistant Vice President for Resident Student Services, chatted with WKU students about their lives and studies at KU.

Mr. Scott Snowden (center), Director of Center for Student Leadership, planned and organized this New Year luncheon. The day before the New Year’s Day, he kept working until 3 a.m. His hard work gave the Chinese students who had to spend the Spring Festival overseas a warm and happy new year.

Mr. Philip Connelly, Executive Vice President for Operation, is asking the students about their lives and studies.

Ms. Janice Murray-Laury is talking with the students from WKU and KU about the following activities.

After the luncheon, all the students and staff of WKU and KU had a group photo. This photo is meaningful and memorable.

The group photo of WKU mentors, USA mentors, and the leaders of KU.

Two students from Wenzhou-Kean University are drawing the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. The professor is figuring out his zodiac year.

On the afternoon of first day of New Year, the celebration was held at the University Center. There were different kinds Chinese traditional songs and dances, as well as the red lanterns and pictures of twelve Chinese zodiac signs. All of these Chinese elements introduced the Chinese New Year to the students and professors of Kean University.