Karen Night: the first of many successful cultural nights at St. Cloud State

St. Cloud State alumni and former KSAU members, Nina Johnny and Mu Ker Pho Soe talk about their experiences before and after graduating. Photo credit: Ben Beckers 

Written by: Ben Beckers 

Karen night was a fun celebration that expressed the culture and what it means to be a part of it. It was the first cultural night of the school year due to COVID-19 restrictions.  

The evening began at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 in the Atwood ballroom. The event hosted by the Karen Student United included paintings, guest speakers, food, singing, and poems. 

The ballroom was full, everyone was socially distanced and wearing masks. Paintings done by Karen artists were put on display and brought in by the Urban Village. 

Many special guest speakers were in attendance including Kyle Johnson the founder of the Karen football association, Jesse Phenow the founder of the urban village and two St. Cloud State alumni. 

The night began with the United States national anthem followed by the Karen national anthem, which signaled the coming together of both cultures at the event.  

Jesse Phenow talked to the audience about what the urban village is and its mission in relation to those with a Karen background. The Urban Village is located in St. Paul and serves asa launch pad for Karen students, artists, leaders, entrepreneurs, dreams, businesses, movements, and community projects. 

Kyle Johnson had also spoke about the Karen Football Association and how it provides an opportunity for Karen athletes to play soccer at a competitive level. Two former members of the KSAU, Nina Johnny and Mu Ker Pho Soe spoke about their experiences and their plans for the future. 

The night also gave light to many impressive singing, and poem performances by KSAU members. Members of the audience were also able to join in on the fun during a fast-paced drawing contest. 

The night was wrapped up with a game of Kahoot and food served on the main level of the Atwood Memorial center. The next cultural night will be Korean night on Nov. 14 in the Ritsche Auditorium, hosted by the Korean Student Association. 

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