On Feb. 18 at the Meridian Mall, the Greater Lansing Chinese Association and Meridian Township Parks & Recreation Department, brought the community together for not only bringing in the Chinese New Year, but to bring fun and celebration for families. Gaelin Zhao, a student from Okemos High School and other fellow students, hosted a table of arts and crafts for children to create their own Chinese toys. Zhao is the president of the Okemos High School Asian Culture Club and it participates every year. The club meets once a week on Tuesdays to talk and learn about other cultures.
According to the Office for International Students and Scholars at Michigan State University, the percentage of MSU students from outside the United States has quintupled since 1950, when international students only made up 3 percent of the population. In 2015, international students made up 15 percent of the university’s population with 7,568 attending school at MSU. This increase in population has led to surrounding communities like Meridian Township to host events so the international students feel more at home in mid-Michigan. One of those events was Meridian Mall’s fourth annual Chinese New Year celebration on Feb. 7.