Red lights illuminated the stage as a two-man operated Chinese lion costume danced through the aisles and jumped onto the stage.
Drinking from a prop wine bottle, the lion swayed and swaggered to a cultural rhythm, finally collapsing on the floor.
This performance, dubbed the "Drunken Lion Dance," was a part of the 12th annual Asian Awakenings held by National Asian fraternity Pi Delta Psi.
Saturday night's variety of Asian cultural and modern performances showcased 12 Asian student groups and greek organizations, and Korean rapper "Flow Sik." Organized by the Asian Pacific American Coalition (APAC), the free event attracted a crowd of more than 300 to Schwab Auditorium.
"At Penn State, Asians aren't really that prominent in the community; this is a way to represent our community," Michelle Yi (sophomore-accounting), who attended the event, said.
The performances varied from cultural to modern singing, Tae Kwon Do, student-produced videos and a Japanese skit of superstition.
The Asian Pacific American Caucus produced a satirical video playing on the differences and similarities between an Asian family and a Caucasian family. The video was modeled after ABC's Wife Swap.
APAC co-cultural directors Matthew Wong (senior-industrial engineering) and Jessica Smith (junior-special education), Miss Asian Penn State 2008, helped organize the event.
APAC serves as an umbrella and liaison organization for all student Asian groups.
"It's important for us to be united as an Asian community to work together to promote our heritage," Smith said. "There are lots of ethnically-defined events, but none that brings us all together."
More modern culture was presented through dances to popular hip-hop music performed by student groups, such as alpha Kappa Delta Phi, an Asian-American interest sorority, and also a step performance by Lambda Phi Epsilon, an Asian-American fraternity.
"The Asian stereotype is really nerdy; this really changes it with all the modern dances," Nnamdi Offor (senior-biology) said.
Attendees of the Asian Awakenings were also presented with a political message.
The Khmer Students Society, a student Cambodian awareness and promotion group, presented a video about child sex slavery issues in Asia.
Reshma Patel (senior-management), an attendee, described how the Khmer Students Society focuses on its own annual issue for the event.
She said the video was her favorite part of the show "because it brought awareness to an issue students aren't aware of."
Jay Pak, also known as rapper "Flow Sik," helped to bring a modern element to the night.
"There [are] usually not Asian Americans in the hip hop industry. Once they hear I'm Korean, the shock factor is crazy," Pak, a 23-year-old rapper from Queens, N.Y., said.
His music reflected "life experiences," he said. Saturday was Pak's first performance at Asian Awakenings.
Julie Cantola (senior-landscape architect), an usher that evening, said Asian Awakenings was unique because it was completely student-run, unlike the musicals and speakers she normally sees.
Smith said she feels the university is very supportive of the event in accordance of the Asian awareness month.
Penn State celebrates Asian culture throughout the month of April through various cultural events.
This article and accompanying photo caption incorrectly state the organization that hosted Asian Awakenings. The Asian Pacific American Coalition hosted the event.