About 300 people filled East Hall Sunday to participate in the University of Michigan Thai Student Association’s annual Thai Night.

The event aimed to serve as a sample of Thai culture, including a variety of food and performances.

Business graduate student Jane Sajeekarn Prescott, co-president of the Thai Student Association, said she hoped the event provided attendees with a genuine Thai experience.

“The purpose is to give the members of University of Michigan and Ann Arbor community to get exposure to Thai culture, as if they’re in our beloved country,” she said.

Rackham student Suparit Suwanik, co-president of the Thai Student Association, said the Thai Student Association has existed for nearly 60 years at the University, and they have hosted Thai Night for 30 years. He noted that Thai Night has grown steadily in recent years.

“The popularity is growing and we can see that,” Suwanik said. “We sold out two weeks away from the event.”

On the main floor of East Hall, there were a variety of Thai exhibitions, including fruit carving, name writing, a photo booth and games. The event also allowed participants to sample a variety of Thai food from local restaurants, including pad thai, Larb, a type of salad with mixed meat, Thai-styled Suki, or hot pot, green curry and Thai iced tea.

Several performances followed dinner, including music performed on traditional Thai instruments, traditional dance and a demonstration of Muay Thai, a traditional form of kickboxing. There was also an interpretation of a story from Thai folklore, translated into English as The Horse-Faced Girl.

Prescott said she thought the event was a success in terms of sharing Thai traditions with the community.

“We like to show we are proud of our culture and we think it is cool to have some kind of showcase for the people in the University of Michigan and Ann Arbor community,” she said.

Suwanik agreed with Prescott and said he thought the event was well-received by the attendees.

“Promoting the diversity that is the University is the event’s value as well, so we think that this is one of the best cultural events that we can show,” he said.  

However, he noted that he felt the event was limited by the venue, and he would have liked to allow more people to attend.

“We targeted to sell tickets at not over that limitation, but we observed an over-demand,” he said. “Everybody’s very interested; I would not want them to miss this event.”

Engineering junior Julie Lin said it was her first time attending Thai Night and she really enjoyed the experience, saying she thought events like Thai Night were important to increase exposure to different cultures.

“I thought it was cool to see the authenticity of it,” Lin said. “Although Michigan emphasizes diversity, I don’t think there’s a lot of diversity and people tend to stick with their own culture, so it’s important to see different types of people here that are not Thai.”

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