Often times, we think that VSA’s/IVSA’s/UVSA’s have only been around within the last decade or two simply because we ourselves experience the ups and downs of VSA’s and their existence. Some days they’re alive and kicking with new members, and some days we don’t know how to revive them. But, in New England, they have created their legacy and already have 30 years in the books.
Founded in 1985, New England Intercollegiate Vietnamese Student Association (NEIVSA) has brought together the Vietnamese community and continues restructuring themselves not simply just to grow, but to grow fast. NEIVSA has over time expanded their presence to six states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island. That’s includes 14 schools they collaborate and partner with! Their goals in a brief description consist of leadership, service, and maintaining a network that will serve as a valuable resource for the community and students. They also host everything from social, cultural, and educational events.
So let’s be realistic, we all know the struggles of keeping up with goals especially within UVSA’s and IVSA’s. But, NEIVSA has rebuilt themselves over many years to be where they are now. No, they aren’t just known for clam chowder (although it’s darn good); they’re known for their strong attitudes and aptitude for growth. With emerging leaders and engaged advisors, they’re making a presence at UNAVSA year by year.
So, let’s talk about some of the nifty events and things they do that could be a model for other UVSA’s/IVSA’s:
They celebrate Tet, and they do it big….in Boston. Each year they partner with the Vietnamese-American Community of Massachusetts to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year.
NEIVSA also knows how to have fun when they host their annual Masquerade Ball where profits go to the IVSA Dream Scholarship. So what’s the dream scholarship you may ask? It’s one of their ways to give back to the Vietnamese American community by promoting future leadership. It’s catered to high school seniors who will be attending college to pursue their dreams with help from this scholarship opportunity.
NEIVSA continues to do it big everywhere they step foot. NEIVSA just hosted their first EVER (and soon to be annual) Leadership Empowerment Summit.
And finally, in March 2015, IVSA officially obtained 501(c)(3) status. New England’s creating a legacy. Even without a group chant at UNAVSA, they’re resonating throughout the continent with their presence.