In Brief

Cherish Chinatown Challenge Under Way

The initiative, which takes place through the end of November, aims to engage the Tufts community with local restaurants and shops in Boston’s Chinatown
Cherish Chinatown committee members Venus Tran, D24 and Esther Yi, D25, eating at Irashai Sushi in Boston's Chinatown. The Cherish Chinatown Challenge takes place throughout the month of November and aims to engage the Tufts community with local restaurants and shops in Boston’s Chinatown.
Cherish Chinatown committee members Venus Tran, D24 and Esther Yi, D25, eat at Irashai Sushi on Kneeland Street in Boston's Chinatown as part of the the Cherish Chinatown Challenge. Photo: Courtesy of Esther Yi
November 15, 2021

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The student-led initiative Cherish Chinatown has proposed a challenge to the Tufts University community: Support the many small businesses in Boston’s Chinatown in exchange for chances throughout the month of November to win gift cards to local restaurants.

The month-long event, called the Cherish Chinatown Challenge, encourages Tufts faculty, staff, and students to dine in or order takeout or delivery from locally owned restaurants and bakeries and to patronize stores in Chinatown.

After a purchase, Tufts community members can enter a raffle by filling out a submission form; there is no limit to how many times a participant can enter. Each Monday, five raffle winners will receive $25 gift cards to neighborhood restaurants. At the end of the challenge, one grand prize winner will earn a $200 gift card to a Chinatown restaurant of their choice. As of Friday, November 12, over 350 entries have already been submitted.

Tufts community members are also encouraged to learn more about the history of the neighborhood by answering a Chinatown Atlas Scavenger Hunt question each week. A correct answer earns an additional raffle entry. Faculty and staff will receive the scavenger hunt question via the weekly Tufts Announcements email; students will see the question posed in various student newsletters distributed across schools.

“The past year has taken an emotional and physical toll on the Asian American Pacific Islander communities. It has been heartbreaking to see the negative impact on small businesses in Boston’s Chinatown. We wanted to do something to show we care about our neighborhood,” says Vaughan Skinker, M24, a student at the School of Medicine and Cherish Chinatown committee member. “As busy as we are with our clinical responsibilities and studies, we still need to eat. We hope this challenge will encourage our classmates to explore Chinatown and try something new. Food is a wonderful way to form connections in the community.”

Cherish Chinatown is an initiative started in spring 2021 by School of Medicine and School of Dental Medicine students who study and work in the community with support from the Office of Government and Community Relations and Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life.

Cherish Chinatown aims to educate Tufts students, faculty, and staff about the history and cultural importance of Boston’s Chinatown and to organize community engagement opportunities that support Chinatown residents, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations in conjunction with Chinatown leaders. In the past year, the group has participated in two neighborhood clean-ups, hosted a webinar about Chinatown’s history and importance, and organized a fundraiser to support the Asian Community Development Corporation’s Hudson Street Stoop project. 

The month-long challenge was organized to aid in Chinatown’s recovery from the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-Asian sentiment.

“This challenge is a tangible and intentional way for the Tufts University community to support the irreplaceable, culturally diverse small businesses in Chinatown,” says Liza Perry, deputy director for the university’s Office of Government and Community Relations. “We are so fortunate that our Health Sciences campus is surrounded by some of the best locally owned cafes, restaurants, and bakeries in the city. We want Boston’s Chinatown to fully recover, grow their business, and thrive, after a challenging year.”

Community members with questions are invited to email the Office of Government and Community Relations at communityrelations@tufts.edu.

Sara Norberg can be reached at sara.norberg@tufts.edu.