University of Georgia
Most Outstanding Cultural Program
Questions and Answers
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.
Night in Saigon 16 was held on Saturday, January 11th, 2020, at Tate Grand Hall. There were approximately 150 volunteers and performers, and 800+ total attendees (including sponsors and esteemed guests). Through skits, dances, songs, food, and more, NIS is a show dedicated to promoting the Vietnamese culture and heritage to the audience. Our goal is not only to educate those who are interested in learning more of the culture, but to raise awareness of the ever-changing Vietnamese- American identity among the audience members.
Our marketing techniques involved a large social media presence with Facebook profile picture frames, a consistently updated Facebook event page, and promotional videos. We also posted flyers around campus and local restaurants as well as had our members paint an advertisement on the street.
Community-wise, NIS unites the entire Southeast once a year and is the ONLY culture show in the Southeast to garner attendance from all VSAs in our region. The show also has a large number of parents in attendance as well as adults involved in both of the Vietnamese American Communities in Georgia.
Every year, Night in Saigon features a different theme that shapes the direction of our show and the message we wish to convey to the audience. This year’s theme is “Dare to Speak,” or “Hãy Lên Tiếng.” As Vietnamese-Americans, it is our responsibility and our right to have a say in public affairs and policies that directly affect us. Despite this, Vietnamese-Americans have some of the lowest known rates of involvement and efficacy. Here, at UGAVSA, we believe that the Vietnamese community, especially young college students, have the power to make a real difference in society, if only they dare. Through our 16th show, we aim to encourage the multiple generations that make up our diverse Vietnamese community in America to rise up and dare to speak out.
Financially, we exceeded both fundraising and sponsorship goals we set for ourselves. We surpassed our sponsorship.
How did this cultural program serve the campus and/or community? What were the cultural program's goals and how did it meet them?
Our overall goal was to increase cultural awareness by storytelling through a written skit, traditional dances with fans and other objects from the motherland and also to teach event planning and character development. For our members, NIS allows them to learn more about Vietnamese culture through the language, food, dances, and seeing the scope of the Vietnamese-American community and how much this show brings people together. Since our members also contribute to the planning process, they develop and improve many leadership skills, such as creativity, communication, responsibility, and dedication. They learn the importance of commitment to a project and cooperation with others that will translate to their professional development. After each show, we release a content survey that allows everyone involved from the student volunteers to the audience to the sponsors to submit their feedback about the show. Collecting these comments allow us to continue to grow as an organization, as leaders, and as creators, and we always aim to be bigger and better than the year before. NIS is not just a show, but it is a beacon for the community to grow closer together and let people see the capability of the young Vietnamese-American and Asian-American community.
How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program?
Throughout the planning process, one of our biggest challenges was finding funding through sponsorship. Normally, a large portion of our funding comes from volunteering for phone banking, where our members assist in calling Asian Americans within our state to remind them that they have a voice in making changes in their community, as well as encouraging them to be politically active and vote. Because this past year wasn’t an election year, we had to come up with other ways to make up this large portion of our fundraising. We were able to not only reach our sponsorship goal but also go beyond it by holding extra Vietnamese Coffee Fundraisers, as well as increasing alumni and sponsorship reach, and participating in campus fundraisers.
Another difficulty faced when planning for NIS was figuring out how to portray the theme ‘Dare to Speak’ to our older demographic audience. Presenting our message to the older demographic of the audience through our skit without portraying it as another typical storyline and not trying too hard to push towards one political viewpoint, was tricky since we were trying to deliver a relevant and important message to the Vietnamese-American community. Our overall goal and theme was to encourage our audience to stay engaged and informed about how important it is for the Vietnamese-American community to speak up.