San Jose State University

Most Outstanding Cultural Program Nomination: San Jose State University

Describe the cultural program. Details MUST include: Date of event, number of participants, program purpose (i.e. goals and objectives), member involvement, use of resources (financial, etc.), marketing techniques and evaluations process.

Vietnamese culture has been modernized and adapted throughout generations, especially during the Vietnam War and postwar, with traditions still being uphold today. SJSU Vietnamese Student Association takes pride in bringing our members together through Vietnamses culture and making it a priority for generations. This year we hosted our 41st annual Culture Show, a production revolved around promoting and preserving Vietnamese culture, on April 14th, 2019. This event aimed to give the members of our VSA the opportunity to explore Vietnamese culture through several performing and nonperforming aspects. Our performing aspects consisted of dance, singing, acting, and more and our nonperforming aspects existed to put together the behind the scenes work. Our Culture Show facilitated a healthy and productive environment driven on educating our community about Vietnamse culture and developing team building and professional skills in a performing setting.

This year, we had 100 participants and 18 directors that were recruited in Fall 2018. Directors had to undergo a professional recruiting procedure, consisting of applications, screening, and interviews. Participants were recruited by an application following up with a contract to ensure reliability and understanding of the rules that follow this show. Once all of these committees were formed, our organization took on more responsibilities to create the show. We introduced the fundraising committee and participated in a student campaign called Crowdfunding, which acts similarly to GoFundMe by allowing people in the community to donate to our show in order to handle the finances. To put together this campaign, we emphasized on our marketing by posting pictures and videos on social media so people knew what our show was. The media content was crucial in marketing this show, as people were fascinated by the work we have already been doing midway in the process. The contract, interview system, Crowdfunding project, and refined marketing skills were adopted this Fall and allowed professionalism to be installed into this production.

How did this cultural program serve the campus and/or community? What were the cultural program’s goals and how did it meet them?

The newly adopted system and revisions of the system from previous years served a useful purpose of allowing our members to understand the importance of this event. This event is not only an extracurricular, but also a project that embraces Vietnamce culture in the community. Often times, Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese audience members come and support to learn more about the culture and how this generation is doing its job in preserving it. This year our theme was Empowerment of the Vietnamese American which opened up a discussion of the issue of immigration in the Vietnamese community and how Vietnamese-Americans in our community take pride in our culture. This theme was powerful in the sense that it allowed audience members of different backgrounds to see and empathize the struggles in the Vietnamese community. From our post show debriefs, it was evident that the audience was moved to see our members taking action in bringing awareness to this issue. We proudly met our goal and created long lasting impacts within the San Jose community.

How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program?

Reaching our goal came with a lot of success along the way, but hardships that served as learning experiences for our organization. Similar to our organization, working with such a mass amount of people required a significant amount of communication skills. Communication within our organization was challenging, because we had to maintain an open and welcoming environment, but also a productive and professional one. Distinguishing between professional and personal while planning this event certainly was a challenge, but after a series of meetings and responses from our participants, perspectives were shifted to everyone’s benefit. The hardships that occurred allowed our organization to realize the importance of transparency within and organization, because this factor allows participants to feel more like they are contributing to an overall picture. Taking a step back and considering all people directly/indirectly involved in this project allowed the directors and fellow leaders in our organization to become aware of what really makes a leader. Communication and transparency are very important factors while planning, especially with such a large scale project, and can make an impact when running an organization.