La Trobe University Celebrates Year of Dragon

Colorful decorations and happy Chinese music warmed up the Eagle Bar of La Trobe University on the 31st January 2012. Around 500 guests, staff, students and their families packed here in the mid-day for the celebration of Chinese New Year featuring colorful lion dance, beautiful performances, interesting games and delicious Chinese food. The event was organised by the Office of Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor, the Centre for China Studies and the Confucius Institute. This was the second year for La Trobe University to hold such a celebration on campus.

The Chinese New Year 2012 falls on the 23rd January when the year of the Rabbit makes way for the Dragon. The Celebration usually lasts for 15 days.

Professor John Rosenberg, Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor opened the celebration and welcomed the guests. His speech in fluent Chinese aroused big applause from the audience. Professor Rosenberg reviewed the significance of the Dragon in Chinese culture and encouraged staff and students to enroll in Chinese language courses at the Confucius Institute of the University.

Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar addressed to the audience. He said “I’m especially delighted that my first “official” event at La Trobe University is one such as this, bringing together staff and students of the University, local and international, in a colourful and vibrant celebration with our community and partners.”

Hon Mr Ken Smith, Speaker of the Victorian Legislative Assembly and State Member for Bass, shared his friendship with China and Chinese people and conveyed the best wishes to all who celebrate Chinese New Year at the University. Madam Guo Xiaojuan, Education Consul of P R China, highly praised the contributions La Trobe University has made to the development of the collaborations in the higher education sector of the two countries. She reinforced full support of the Chinese Consulate in Melbourne to La Trobe University for its China related activities.

A live lion dance started the cultural performance of the day. The audience enjoyed the elegant Chinese dances and beautiful Chinese and English songs and their attention was instantly grabbed by a Chinese song sung by two Australian students Matt Harris and Miriam Forte. Staff and students were also invited to go to the stage to participate in a spring roll making competition. Three excellent participants of the Australia-China Student Forum received awards from Chancellor Adrienne E Clarke, AC.

Dr Gao Bao-qiang, a Chinese background academic, said: “This was wonderful. I felt so warm to celebrate the Chinese New Year with my Australian colleagues and students.” 

Many Australian students said this event provided an excellent opportunity for them to learn Chinese tradition. “This was fantastic. It lets me know more about this culture”

“It has been absolutely magnificent. It gave me a sense of home and I am looking forward to starting my study at La Trobe University in February” said one of the students from La Trobe-Melbourne.