San Francisco State University

Resilient VSA of the Year

Questions and Answers

What were the biggest challenges to your VSA as a result of the novel Coronavirus pandemic and how did your VSA overcome them?

Our VSA is brand new, as in the semester that the Coronavirus hit it was our first semester. We had big ambitions and wanted to take the ground running when the semester started so our goal was to still do all of the activities planned. Our first ACE program was scheduled for this semester and our reveal week landed on the first week that school closed down. We were able to do a zoom call reveal which was awkward but all of the “families” (which is what we call the lines) were able to bond. A big challenge for us was to make personal connections with our members but we pushed all of the members on board to reach out to at least 3 of our members, if it be a small gesture like following them on instagram or even reaching out and texting them, we did this to make sure that we, as a board, showed all of our members that we are still there for them.

What new or innovative ideas did your VSA create in order to maintain member activity or serve your members during the end of the Spring semester? What was the outcome of the innovations in terms of goals met, successes, and failures?

Our biggest challenge was simply to gain members so we transitioned to zoom meetings, blasting out instagram, making a facebook page, twitter, slack, basically every type of communication so that we stayed in contact with our members. We also pushed word of mouth by rewarding our members for posting about us or getting people to join with stickers or candy (our members are easily impressed). We did collaborations with community leaders and other organization members and this pushed us far beyond our goals even while all of us were locked up at home. It was awkward each time because a video call can build so much connection, but each meeting we had we managed to get new members who were simply passionate about the club. 

What lessons and solutions are your VSA taking away from this experience in order to prepare for the next school term and move forward during uncertain times?

Consistency is important. We had our face-to-face general meetings every wednesday, so we kept this so that everyone could have some type of schedule. 

Don’t give up, these are hard times but we wanted to push even harder and finding new ways to connect and reach out during this time. Not just to our members, but we made sure to reach out to other organizations on campus and even off campus to make sure everyone was okay and were able to reach their goals. The fundraisers we’ve done for BLM, the art show we have planned with NorCal, our workshops we have planned to talk about big topics like self-discovery and culture, all of these things will still take place no matter where we are.