San Jose State University
Outstanding VSA of the Year
Questions and Answers
What are the purpose and goal(s) of the VSA, and how has the VSA met or exceeded those goals?
The purpose is to unite with other colleagues to create an enlightening atmosphere and encourage education as well as leadership. We strive to promote cooperation and participation to make VSA feel like a second home for our members. Our four pillars include social, culture, community, and academic. The pillars shape our goals for the kind of events we have.
We have multiple events throughout the year including Luau, Winter formal, Friendsgiving, Summit, Olympics, and End of the year banquet. Luau allowed bonding and members to figure out what family they are in. Friendsgiving had performances by our VSA members. It was also potluck style and we decided which family ate first by the amount of donations each family has contributed. We had a donation drive for two charity groups: winter clothes and hygienic products. We had over 60+ donations from an attendance of over 100+ members. Our last fall event was Winter Formal where we announce Family of the Semester. Winter Formal showcased our member’s performances. Our last spring event was a Zoom End of the Year Banquet. We showed video performances by our members, had superlatives to recognize members, and Kahoot game to test our 80+ members who attended on Vietnamese phrases and other fun facts about our VSA. Lastly announced next year’s cabinet as current officers and graduating seniors said their goodbye speech.
We also have weekly general meetings (15 in person meetings total) about an hour long to demonstrate our purpose: to learn about our VSA, learn about the culture, and meet new people. We had weekly Vietnamese phrase of the week and icebreakers. Some meetings include: Costume contest, coin drive, Mini-games, family karaoke, census guest speaker, and more. After the meeting, we have socials at school or plazas to focus on our social pillar. Due to COVID, our cabinet members and interns planned and discussed how we would continue to keep the VSA spirit alive through these tough times through Zoom meetings.
Address how the VSA was outstanding in the following areas: recruitment, marketing, outreach to campus community, use of resources (financial, etc.), officer training and event planning.
For recruitment, we tabled on campus daily for the first few weeks and also tabled for
the Student Organization Fair. We dedicated some club funds to a table, canopy, SJSU VSA banner, and other table props like a yearbook of past events and manned by officers and interns. After getting interested students to sign up, we host our first general meeting as an intro to VSA followed by a social fundraiser at a large restaurant. For the first and second general meeting, our turnout was over 250 members! We also had some smaller breakout socials in later meetings to give old members an opportunity to meet the new members and help them feel welcome in this big and diverse club. We advertise the family program and ACE program (Anh-Chi- Em, our big-little program) which helps our new members form connections in the club. We also have a member fee which goes towards a shirt and using the club funds towards having bigger and better events.
As for marketing, our publicity chair creates graphics for our event pages and instagram posts. We get our members and officers to share and invite others to the page, promoting outreach and awareness with the meeting information and theme for the week, and getting friends to invite more people. The Publicist is also the Marketing director for Culture Show and helps make posts for our Culture Show.
Our officers keep in touch with Student Involvement and Associated Students on campus, along with other organizations on campus. We joined cultural and community events on campus such as the Mid-Autumn Festival & Night Market, both were the first ever on campus. For our Census workshop, we had a guest speaker from the Filipino cultural organization on campus.
For officers, we have a retreat during the summer to bond and pass down knowledge from the previous cabinet. Old cabinet is also there to help out the new cabinet, so we always have a strong support network.
How did the VSA work together? How did you maximize strengths and overcome weaknesses? How did the group work to establish responsibility and accountability among its members?
Our cabinet members had weekly Monday cabinet meetings where we worked together to update each other and discuss future plans. Every meeting, we would start with pros and cons of meetings or events that just happened so we are able to recognize and learn from our mistakes. Then we would have each officer do their reports that included updates on their duties and potential ideas in the future. After all officers have reported, we would start planning for the next few general meetings. We would plan how to execute the upcoming meeting on Thursday as it was a group effort between all of us to make sure each meeting was successful. Before the school year, we had a few cabinet meetings to discuss who would be responsible for our events. Officers took initiative to take full responsibility for an event. As the event approaches, that officer would update us on the planning and allow us to discuss
ideas that would help improve the event or solutions for issues we recognized. This allowed transparency between all officers which meant that we were able to track progress of an event and keep our officers accountable.
Provide specific examples of how the student group demonstrated growth and development in the 2019-2020 academic year.
This year, we didn’t have an Academics Chair as an officer. We had to improve on delegating responsibilities to ensure that this pillar of VSA was being fulfilled. Study sessions continued and opportunities were shared. We managed to inspire one candidate to run for Academics Chair for the next school year.
At the end of the first semester, our Internal Vice President announced his intent to resign due to personal life responsibilities and burnout. Although it was unfortunate to see him leave, we respected his choice and wished him the best as we shared the responsibilities among the cabinet. Our Treasurer took on the role as Internal Vice President, and we split the responsibilities of Treasurer among the executive board. Although it took more effort, we managed to go on with our second semester.
With the beginning of quarantine and shelter-in-place, we had to move our family reveals and ACE reveal to virtual. We had virtual hints for each day of ACE like a music playlist, trolled the littles by text and had reveals on Zoom. We adapted and still had great reveals for our members.
With quarantine, we also went off track for the Internship program. Many of the events we had planned for interns to host and plan were no longer possible, so we adapted to the situation with zoom meetings. Our zoom meetings like the Yoga session were successful and still gave our interns an opportunity to work as a team. Other duties like social media posts and community resources were still possible to have during the quarantine, and it was more important than ever to share those resources to help students in need.