Fordham University’s ACE Presents: “Dynasty”


Fordham’s ACE hosted a banquet, where students could mingle and enjoy delicious food. (Courtesy of Kiki Chen for The Fordham Ram)

Fordham University’s Asian Cultural Exchange (ACE) mirrored the intimate atmosphere of the warmly wood-paneled Room 311 at the McShane Campus Center on Nov. 18 in celebrating their 23rd annual “Dynasty” event, which the club traditionally holds every autumn.

Since the student-led club’s founding in 1999, ACE has been the leading group on campus encouraging a truly beautiful commerce — an exchange, if you might — of the vibrant customs proudly represented by Fordham’s diverse communities of Southeast Asian and Pacific Islander ancestry. Dynasty is ACE’s yearly gathering that celebrates the end of the harvest and the beginning of the winter holidays, and serves as the club’s mid-season feast reunion on the Friday evening of the weekend before the four-day Thanksgiving/Native American Heritage Day break.

The night kicked off with an appetizer reception where partygoers bonded over conversation and popular Asian snack foods. People entering the large doorway found their redlining anticipation met with jubilation at seeing their friends again, many of whom were also impressed with the glowing tall-ceilinged and relatively new room they had never set foot in before that evening. The slightly tardier arrivals seemed further overjoyed to be welcomed by an exponential number of others who were already chatting away happily.

ACE’s e-board opened the banquet with some brief remarks, in which each member enthusiastically greeted the attendees and introduced themselves. ACE President Arthur Liu, FCRH ’23, jokingly announced himself as one of the club’s “freshman representatives” with flawlessly comical deadpan, and to resounding laughter and applause from the excited crowd.

“Dynasty’s significance emerges in each lasting friendship made at every event,” Liu declared. “There’re always excellent opportunities for ACE members to become friends, and even with currently non-ACE members, because these events boost our publicity and recruitment to help us spread our spirit. Dynasty’s super-cool as I’ve helped plan each one we’ve had from my freshman to senior year — it warms me to see people enjoying great food, great company and being happy.”

“Being an involved member of the Fordham community complicates finding time to explore genuine cultural and food experiences at the Asian hubs of Queens and Manhattan — like it did for me,” recalls Liz Shim, FCRH ’23. “That’s why I’m so grateful to be part of ACE, to spend a night with people whose backgrounds I relate a lot to. We can banter about our upbringings as first/second-gen AAPIs, and rave and laugh about new Asian drama shows and memes. Honestly, with this invaluable immersion, I’m with everyone in feeling validated and included.”

“Dynasty 2019 was my first ACE event ever, and it profoundly changed my life. I was there to perform with Hot Notes, but stuck around because I was intrigued to learn that such a space existed here.” Shim shares how being the only Asian-American in her friend circles during a freshman year that lacked diversity inspired her to become more involved with ACE. She even signed up to become a regular member that very night.

Stacey Cajita, GSB ’25 and ACE Social Media Coordinator, appreciates how Dynasty helps everyone “celebrate Asian culture and each other.”

“Dynasty’s really important to me because last year’s event is where I met my current friend group,” she said. “Two alumni from last year’s e-board, Oscar and Kevin, came back to visit tonight. I loved seeing and talking to them again. They made my freshman experience last year in ACE very special, and convinced me to join the 2022-23 e-board. This year’s Dynasty is extra noteworthy, in that I’m able to directly take part in making sure everyone has a fun time.”

The e-board then handed the mics and floor to Fordham’s Hot Notes a cappella group, who serenaded everyone with thrilling medley renditions of pop hits including “Girl on Fire,” practically bringing the house down and everyone to their feet.

For this year’s event, ACE treated their attendees to an exploration of the uniqueness found in authentic Korean cuisine. With everyone brimming delightedly after Hot Notes’ performance, the attendees and vocalists excitedly tucked into a smorgasbord of similarly-energized dishes prepared by local restaurants in Queens, and served generously by the ACE e-board themselves. Hot (in popularity and taste) items on the menu were sweet beef and spicy pork bulgogi, grilled marinated meat; japchae, stir-fried glass cellophane noodles with spinach and peppers; kimbap, sushi-like rolls with rice and veggies inside a seaweed wrapping; seafood tteok-bokki, cylindrical rice cakes in a spicy stew with fishcakes and tofu; and soy and garlic chicken wings. These were flanked by the all-time staple of white rice and omnipresent kimchi, a fermented and spiced cabbage-radish mixture. The freshly robust delicacies were packed with flavor, as exuberant as the crowd, and as healthy as their interactions. For dessert, there were sweet glutinous rice balls filled/coated with variations of sesame and tea.

When everyone had finished their adequate second or third portions and the food trays were emptied, the e-board let the games begin, which included musical chairs and limbo.

The final event of the night was set to be karaoke, but the partygoers had all taken inspiration from Hot Notes during the rounds of musical chairs and limbo, already singing in unison to the melodies flowing from the wall speakers luxuriously surrounding the room as they played. Everyone made the best of the technical difficulties that sidelined the projector, and continued to merrily sing along to the ACE playlist even after the games were long over.

“Dynasty is a time to celebrate the connections we have made within the club during the semester, and relax after midterms with delicious food,” said Maleiya Lorenzo, FCRH ’23. “This event does a great job of bringing people from different backgrounds together to relax and have fun,” noted Lorenzo, who is a member of both ACE and Fordham University Philippine-American Club (FUPAC). “I saw lots of people from different ethnicities who could all connect.” She also laughed, “I always love the games and friendly competition; it’s very fun to participate in and see how into it people get. This year I really enjoyed the limbo standoff.”

“It’s really comforting for the AAPI community to destress around midterms and finals, and celebrate our hard work through our cultures’ foods and spending time with each other,” Cajita continued. “Dynasty is always going to have a special place in my heart.”

The festivities presented another passionate display of ACE’s proven importance to the Fordham community, as an Asian cultural club that invites AAPI students to come together while welcoming and educating anyone about the magical richness of Asian traditions, in environments and at events that unite us all.

“I especially love seeing freshmen warming up to the rest of the club and feeling like they truly have a place at Fordham,” gushed Liu, adding, “it reminds me of when I was them.”

With this November night to remember, the high-class kitchen of diverse melting pots that is the ACE triumphed at Rose Hill once again, and the dedicated e-board and general members keep us eagerly looking forward to the club’s future plans for spring 2023.