The coronavirus has dampened Lunar New Year celebrations around the globe this year. Even within the U.S., public celebrations have been canceled in order to mitigate risk. At Concordia University Wisconsin though, where thankfully, no infection has been detected, the celebration went on as an opportunity to recognize and support friends and family amid the state of affairs in Asia.


On Friday, Concordia’s International Center hosted a Lunar New Year celebration that featured traditional Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean food, activities, and decor. Dozens of Concordia students, faculty, and staff joined in the festivities.

The closed event held no coronavirus risk for students. Concordia has been in regular contact with the Ozaukee County Health Department on the matter and has taken extensive measures to check in on its Chinese students’ well-being.

“We’re blessed that we are not impacted here,” said Charlotte Shih, coordinator for Asia/Pacific programs. “We want to show our support. It’s important for us to show courage and strength at this time on behalf of those in our home country.”

Through its partnership with Tianhua University, Concordia claims more than 250 Chinese students who are either currently studying in Shanghai or on the Mequon campus.

Schools throughout China, including Tianhua, have had to delay the start of their spring semester by a month, if not longer.

“We’re going to work closely with our Tianhua partners to support students who risk falling behind in their academic contact hours as a result of this crisis,” said Assistant Vice President of International Affairs David Birner. “We’ll have to come up with innovative measures to make sure our students have a clear path forward so that they can complete their studies successfully. We’ll overcome this challenge together, as partners—not individuals.”

TMJ4 paid Concordia a visit on Friday to speak to CUW-Tianhau students Freja Huang and Ping Zhou. Click here or on the image below to watch the segment.

— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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