Written by Jenni Huynh from University of Houston
From having the “longest dance battle of all time” to “becoming a family,” UVSA South Leadership attendees experienced quite a weekend this past April in Dallas, Texas. Being the second annual leadership summit UVSA South has hosted, it was a gratifying and inspiring feeling to see the growth in the South Region in just one year’s time. Because the South is still growing, Summit’s goal was to continue breaking the ice between VSAs in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, and to unify them with the theme of “One Seed, Endless Possibilities.” The best part of Summit this year was letting these attendees know that they are the reason UVSA South’s board works hard to not only connect them with other regions and UNAVSA, but to shine light on them as the treasures we see them to be for the rest of the VSA network to learn from.
From the programming perspective, the motivation came from love. Love for not just VSA, but all the tremendous people and leaders that our family holds. They say sharing is caring, so that is exactly what we did. Love from SoCal, the Midwest, and the Gulf Coast all joined us as workshops speakers and truly opened up a door to another place in the country where the attendees could now call “home.” By letting the South know of the support and other hard-working VSAers around the country, the lightbulb of impact and influence they have not only in their own VSAs, but around the continent started to shine.
Besides having workshops covering cultural identity, maximizing work within a team, and seeing VSA as a whole community, an array of speakers from Dallas came to empower the leaders of the future. Tarrant County Commissioner, Andy Nguyen, and Keynote Speaker, Dr. Dung Ngo from University of Texas in Tyler, were specifically mentioned for leaving an impression on the heart’s of the attendees by their stories of hardships in getting to the United States and the wonderful possibilities they have created for themselves and others after. University of Texas at Dallas VSA was instrumental in the success of Summit for hosting VSA By Night, a pageant and cultural showcase, the night prior to Summit weekend and providing the venue for the unforgettable weekend. Lastly, the addition of Glow-In-The-Dark Field Day was experimental and ended up being a blast, a great way to end a day of bonding.
On the flipside, the energy and memories made from the attendees was a reminder to UVSA South executive board and all the staff that helped make Summit possible, that the mission behind VSA will never die and their contributions to their perspective schools and regions are forever impactful. There is not enough space to fully express the gratitude of the energy put together to make Summit happen, but most, if not all, of staff are part of UNAVSA and are continuing the ripple of awesomeness for UNAVSA-11 Conference. We were all once a seed that grew from a possibility to a reality, and we continue to grow and form new visions. We are VSA and we are unstoppable.