Outstanding Virtual Program
Questions and Answers
Provide a detailed description of the virtual program and the population it served. Details MUST include: date of event/time-period, number of participants, program purpose (goals, objectives, activities, etc.), use of resources (finances, community support, etc.), marketing techniques and evaluation processes.
The Xuan 2020 website was released on May 9, 2020. This year’s show was called Xuan Moi, Tinh Yeu Moi, meaning New Spring, New Love. The theme focused on loving your identity and defying expectations and barriers placed upon being Vietnamese American. We wanted to bring to light the struggles and insecurities that second- generation Vietnamese Americans face, whether it be trying to be more “American” or more “Vietnamese”. Spring signifies the beginning, or rebirth, of life, and we wanted our show to highlight the journey of loving and accepting your identity. Overall, we wanted the show to have themes of love and acceptance, which we wanted our dance performances and skit to be a faithful extension of. However, our in-person event was canceled before we were able to start dance performance practices and get to know our participants. We decided to transition and continue Xuan online to showcase the hard work of our skitwriter Jamie Vo, the cast members, and recognize our committee. It was also imperative we continue the show for those going through a difficult time in their lives during this pandemic, in hopes that we could bring together our community through this virtual program. Finding strength in our identity was important now more than ever because of the discrimination towards Asians in America during the pandemic. Our primary marketing was geared towards Instagram and Facebook, where we felt we would be able to reach a large number of second-generation Americans who would resonate with the theme of our program. Social media is a huge platform, and we felt our program would be best advertised and heard through online means. Our decorations committee also reached out via Facebook to members of VSA on what the theme of love meant to them. We recorded the responses and displayed them on the website to include and show the support of our VSA community. Committee debriefs were done in order to evaluate what went well and what could be improved for the future.
How did this virtual program serve the campus and/or community? What specific topics and/or activities did this program address? How do you evaluate its success, both qualitatively and quantitatively? If applicable, how did the program provide a unique experience that could not have been delivered physically?
We wanted our virtual program to resonate with second generation Vietnamese- Americans in our community to share stories from our VSA that would help encourage others to embrace their identity. Typically, we donate all of our show’s proceeds to charity, and this year’s was Messengers of Love. The charity’s mission is to provide physical, mental, emotional and educational support to the orphaned and under privileged children of Vietnam through various programs and services. Having our show and purpose towards our Vietnamese heritage is important to highlight and honor for ourselves and our audience. Jamie Vo, our skitwriter, personally wanted to write about how she struggled with the notion of making her family proud. Immigrant parents often push their kids to pursue prestigious, well-paying professions. This is a situation many second-generation Americans can relate to and struggle with. This can cause a rift, but we wanted to address that we don’t have to “choose” between our dreams, or our family and heritage. We can have the best of both worlds and honor both facets of our identity. At the end of the day, what unites a family is love, despite our differences and disagreements. We asked VSA members what love means to them and displayed them on the website to show the various meanings of love. Our cast also performed the skit, written by Jamie Vo, on a podcast with the full screenplay posted as well. I also asked Ali Nguyen, a member of our food committee, to write about the menu the committee would have served on Xuan. Ali is a big lover of Vietnamese food and wrote about the menu and the importance of Vietnamese food to her. By having this program virtually, we were able to have a more intimate and reflective setting. While we would have loved to have had this in person, exploring the website and listening to the skit in isolation allows for a better understanding and reflection of what our struggles have been, and how we can embrace our identity.
How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the virtual program? What was the outcome of the program in terms of goals met, successes, and failures?
The transition from planning an in-person show to an online event was difficult in terms of utilizing all of our committees. Understandably, many people on our team were going through difficult times and were unable to dedicate themselves to our virtual program. Additionally, many committees that were created for an in-person show could not be utilized for a website. For example, our performance committees are usually a big part of Xuan, but since the event was canceled before dance
practices could start, there was no way to display the dance performance aspect of Xuan virtually. We were disappointed that we could only involve a couple of committees. However, we are proud to display and credit each person and their committee on the website. Our goal in having a virtual program was to be a community for our Vietnamese and second generation Americans to come together in strength. Typically, we donate all of our proceeds to a charity, this year’s being Messengers of Love, but we understood this time would be tough financially for students. Despite our in-person program being canceled, I feel our goals were met in terms of bringing together different people in our committee and seeing them gain and grow new skills through their respective roles. We also wanted to speak more on the second-generation American experience and embracing our identity, and we felt the skit perfectly represented that. People who viewed the website also reached out to say that had resonated with the theme and the message of the skit, which we hoped would be an outcome of the program.