Stuyvesant Students Volunteer in Passport to Taiwan Festival

Students from Stuyvesant’s Key Club, Red Cross, and Taiwanese culture club—Stuywan—participated in the Passport to Taiwan festival.

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Passport to Taiwan hosted their annual festival in Union Square Park on May 26. It is the largest Taiwanese American event in the United States since its initiation in 2002 and aims to celebrate Tawianese culture through various performances, activities, and vendors. Students from Stuyvesant’s Key Club, Red Cross, and Taiwanese culture club—Stuywan—participated in the event. 

The Passport to Taiwan festival includes stage performances with Taiwanese-American talents, Taiwanese artists, food vendors with small eats, and activities for everyone to participate in. These include sampling food, appreciating and creating arts and crafts, playing games, and learning about traditional Taiwanese toys. Participants immersed themselves in Taiwanese culture as they enjoyed these activities. “There were a lot of different foods from Taiwan, and I appreciated the selection of desserts they had. It reminded me of Taiwan,” sophomore and Stuywan Co-President Estella Yee said in an email interview.

However, participants also acknowledged that their expectations for the event were different from the actual outcome. “Honestly, though I thought it would be bigger, it only took up one short block of Union Square Park. Also, the food was very overpriced in my opinion but still good,” Yee said.

Stuyvesant’s Key Club and Red Cross assisted in setting up the event. “This was one of the events where I feel like I did a lot of physical labor like setting up and [selling] food,” junior and event organizer Adeline Sauberli said.  “We were setting up the tents for them, and we unloaded so many collapsible tents.” 

Stuywan prepared a small performance for the event which involved a live band and live singing.  Junior and Stuywan Co-President Celise Lin performed two songs with a band consisting of Stuyvesant students. “I [was] in contact with an organizer from the organization ‘Hello Taiwan’ to [participate] in any events [the organization] had, and she reached out to me inviting Stuywan to perform. She was looking for young talent to showcase,” Lin said.

Students struggled to find time in their schedule to rehearse due to conflicts with AP exams. “Having to rehearse over AP season was near impossible, and it was hard to get the band together. You need people who are available, and we only ended up having two rehearsals,” Lin said.

Ultimately, student organizers and volunteers viewed the event as a huge success. “The audience really liked [the performance], and that’s the most important thing. Our goal is to showcase Taiwanese culture, who we are, and for people to enjoy ourselves,” Lin said. 

Most participants are looking forward to next year’s Passport to Taiwan festival, and some are even looking for more opportunities to explore other diverse cultures. “I was working on the Clubs and Pubs fair earlier this year, and I was thinking about how the effect of this stuff is so cool. When you bring a lot of organizations together, it’s a lot of work, but it’s so cool. It shouldn’t be that difficult to organize a fair for more of the cultural clubs at Stuyvesant so they can get together and do what they do,” Sauberli said.