San Jose State University

Outstanding VSA of the Year

Submission #3

Questions and Answers

What are the purpose and goal(s) of the VSA, and how has the VSA met or exceeded those goals?

Through our four pillars of academic, social, culture, and community, our organization’s aim is to represent these pillars through our programs, events, and meetings. 

Our families include: Blue Ox, Red Dragon, Green Snake, and Yellow Monkey. They each have distinct traits that separate them from one another. This family system allows new members to have an easier time to join VSA and meet new people because we understand that coming to our meetings with over 150+ members can be overwhelming. 

We have a family point system to strengthen our social and community pillar. This system incentives our family leaders to plan hangouts and mixers with other families. You get a certain amount of points for every picture you post on our Facebook Bạn Bè group. This Facebook group supports our social pillar as it allows members to interact with each other online by posting memes, Tiktoks, and is also a way for cabinet members to announce future meetings/events. The family point system also encourages our family members to attend the social events but members can also earn more points for their family if they volunteer at a community service event. 

We have Humans of VSA, which allows our own members to share their personal stories and Parents of VSA, which encourages our members to speak to their parents to learn about their stories as well. Our school had the most pledge cards signed to support nail salon workers and the movement. We had mixers with schools in our region that included Stanford, Berkeley, De Anza, Davis, SCU and SFSU. We took extra steps to be involved in other communities outside of VSA by showing our support to fellow schools in our region by showing up to their first general meetings. Over the summer, a few officers took part in SoCal’s Camp. We continued to be involved in SoCal’s community by attending their Rose Pageant and Pho King events. 

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.

At the start of every semester, we set up a table in the middle of campus and promote 

our organization. At the table, we have a photo album of all our previous events, cultural decorations, hand out flyers, and have some of our members there to talk and ask questions to. We also post on our social media important dates and how to sign up to become an official member. 

Our President and Treasurer went through school training to understand the rules by the school. During our first few cabinet meetings, we would discuss the power of vision which had officers understand the reason to have a vision as it would help you through the struggles that we may face throughout the year. Our officer retreat over the summer also taught us a lot of leadership skills that we were able to implement during our term. A certain officer would be responsible for an event and update us on the progress during our cabinet meetings. They would fill out the EPS, which included: Purpose, theme, dress code, event lead, time of event, location, PR description, media description, food description, list of items, itinerary, and list of responsibilities for each officer. 

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?

We had a culture show and although we had to shut it down due to the pandemic, I believed that our VSA worked very well in terms of keeping it together. Our culture show producer was in charge of the culture show directors and she chose these directors based on their strengths in certain aspects. This allowed the directors to be diverse in a skillset which covered areas of weakness other directors did not have. For example, our backstage director did not know how to take pictures, so we had a photography director to make sure we took great pictures of all the aspects. These directors included acting, multiple dancing directors, choir, stage manager, logistics, fundraising/sponsorship, marketing, media (photography/videography), hospitality, makeup/hair, props, technicians, and audio. Most of these directors had a group of participants which consist of our members. Depending on the director, they held practices weekly or bi-weekly to prepare for the show. Our members were able to attend these practices to learn dance/songs/script for the show. Everyone of the participants of the show was able to work together to make this show happen even as the pandemic happened, we planned to have the show in the Fall and continued practices over Zoom. Each director was accountable for the participants in their group, and the producer was accountable for each director making sure they are doing what is needed to make sure the show happened. We have over 100+ participating in the show. 

Provide specific examples of how the student group demonstrated growth and development in the 2019-2020 academic year.

A specific example that shows the growth and development of students are the handful of cabinet members who came into their term as introverts, slowly became more open. These cabinet members had the opportunity to be a part of a leadership position and in doing so, they were able to come out of their shell. They were able to work together with their fellow cabinet members to run this club as efficiently as possible. This can be stated for several members of the club as well. SJSU VSA has a family mindset involved and it allows people to be comfortable meeting new people, forming new bonds with each other. We welcome every member and immediately treat them as one of our own, making them feel comfortable. 

Another example of growth, meeting dynamics became significantly more involved. In the beginning, we would do the usual meetings where we present the members with new information and then go to a social so that members could meet. However, as the year went by, the cabinet felt as if we had to change the dynamic of how we ran the meetings so that members could be more engaged. This ties into how cabinet members developed themselves in opening up and speaking their mind more frequently during meetings. We provided an outlet for those that wanted to speak, but weren’t all that comfortable.