The Chinese Student Association’s Tea Tour attracted students from across SMU to explore the various tea regions of China in the Meadows School on September 13, the first day of the Chinese mid-Autumn Festival.
“We just kind of wanted to get to know some of the new people on campus, just have them go to one of our events, you know, see what it’s all about,” CSA logistics coordinator, Alex Yang said. “It’s not like super strict or intense, you know. We just like to enjoy ourselves, have fun, and create a community where anyone can enjoy some Chinese culture.”
The event was moved unexpectedly from the Hughes-Trigg Varsity to the choral hall in the Meadows School. The space was smaller and less commonly used for CSA events; however, many Meadows students who hadn’t heard about the Tea Tour were able to attend because of the sudden change.
“I was actually on my way to the library, and my friend, Claire, just grabbed me on the way and invited me to go get tea, and so we came here,” Meadows student Caroline Booth said, who was experiencing a CSA event for the first time, “Everyone is so nice! I’m so glad I found this.”
The Tea Tour offered five different tea blends for visitors to try, each linked to a different city in China. In addition to tea, there was a wide variety of Chinese foods and snacks, including mooncakes, popcorn chicken, and dried flowers. For many of the attendees, the foods were a novel experience of Chinese culture.
“This popsicle is pretty great, it’s a Boba popsicle with milk tea…I didn’t know these existed, but I’m a big fan,” Student Travis Carroll said. Carroll also noted how much more accessible Chinese snacks and foods were at the event than elsewhere in Dallas. “It’s certainly a lot closer than the pan-Asian supermarket up on the highway. I’m very grateful. Come back, do this more in Meadows!”
The diverse turnout to the Tea Tour was exactly what first-time CSA President Crystal Kwang had hoped for from her first organized event. Kwang’s goal this year is to expand CSA’s collaboration with other cultural clubs on campus, as well as encourage students of diverse backgrounds to attend and feel welcomed at more CSA events.
“It feels great to bring people together, and ultimately that’s what this is all about,” Kwang said. “Apparently the way to do that is through Boba, but honestly that’s pretty OK!”