Students and community members flock to annual ESC night market
As spring quarter comes closer to the end, the Ethnic Student Center hosted the annual Night Market to celebrate the variety of cultures on campus.
The event consisted of music, performances, food and art, in addition to the 11 ESC clubs that set up vendors in Red Square.
The Community Food Co-Op and RCXR’s Art Shop helped to sponsor the event this year and were among the many community vendors that set up shop alongside the clubs.
For many of the clubs, such as the South Asian Student Association, African Caribbean Club and the Native American Student Association, the Night Market is a way to share their traditional foods and celebrate their culture for all who come to see.
“I think what’s really interesting or important about Night Market is that it shows that we are part of this community,” co-chair of the Mixed Identity Student Organization, Katherine Yuko Fry, said.
At the organization’s vendor, they opted for selling necklaces made by another member of the club.
The necklaces included flowers, sand, shells and leaves that were found around campus and in the Bellingham area and later encased in resin.
At other vendors, foods and drinks were a common theme.
The Vietnamese Student Association sold che thai, which is a desert fruit cocktail, and pandan waffles. The South Asian Student Association sold samosas and chutney. The MEChA vendor sold fruta picada that some students like sophomore Courtney Scott was excited to try.
“For me as a person who is not of color, it’s really important to educate myself on other cultures here on campus and the impact they’re trying to make,” Scott said.
For freshman Selome Zerai, events like Night Market allow all the ESC clubs to be represented on Western’s campus.
Sometimes people are not aware of the clubs that she is involved in, which are African Caribbean Club and Black Student Union, Zerai said.
“I think it’s really important that all these clubs came out here to have the space to express themselves and their values,” Zerai said.
Outside of the clubs and community vendors represented, a series of performances lit up the night, including poet Will Rideout, who performed multiple times throughout the night, rapper and singer Guayaba and performances from clubs like the Filipino American Student Association.
The student effort that goes into running it every year is what makes Night Market so special, co-chair of MISO Daniela Tierra said.
“The Night Market is entirely student labor,” Tierra said. “It was created for students, by students.”
For the vendors, the money raised in buying what each club sells will go towards that club’s funds for the next school year.
Although last year’s Night Market was held on the Old Main lawn, it switched this year to be placed in Red Square, filling about a quarter of the space that was available.
“We hope that for years to come that this event will grow,” Fry said. “I did hear someone say that their dream is that one day this whole event will take up all of Red Square and that we can be just that big at this university.”