University of Central Florida

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?

Officer Elections 2020: 

When the pandemic brought all activities to a halt at our university, we were challenged to figure out to transition from one term to the next. We were fortunate to have our nominees finalized however, we could not conduct our elections as we normally do. 

Our biggest challenge was to transition our elections to a virtual format to cater to the circumstances given due to quarantine. We also considered other issues, including how to properly deliberate and vote on the nominees. 

What we proceeded with was to convert our elections into interviews. The interviews will be split up by positions, conducted by a panel of current and former officers. Our reasoning to this change was due to how hectic and unprofessional it would be to hold a Zoom call for the public to attend. Our elections have traditionally allowed officers and paid members to participate in voting. If we were to hold a big conference call for it, it would’ve been difficult to keep track of the votes and of those who were paid members. 

By conducting interviews, we isolate the audience to a panel of current and former officers. However, it calls for a panel that has the knowledge and experience of officership, who will vote for the nominees that are most qualified for the positions. 

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?

A recent innovative idea our VSA has conducted was for the commemoration of Black April. Every year, we hold a general body meeting in collaboration with our Cộng đồng to commemorate Black April. 

Due to COVID-19 restricting our opportunity for in-person events, we decided to work with current and former officers and members of the Cộng đồng to tell their stories about Black April/the Fall of Saigon. We reached out to elders for their experiences 

and shared them to our members on social media.The goal was to educate our members of this historical event and offer different perspectives of it. Although it doesn’t offer more open conversations between our members and our elders directly, this post allows us to put that information and narratives out and help our relationships with our community evolve for the future. 

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?

One of the lessons that our VSA is learning from this experience is to always understand the situations/circumstances given and learn to adapt. We have also learned that making certain changes require reprioritizing our tasks in the short time that we have. 

We have also allowed ourselves to open options to virtual formats. Although they’re not as immersive, it keeps ourselves open-minded on how to keep our members involved, whether they attend our events in-person or support from afar. 

We are also looking into the possibility of our campus opening up for the fall semester. We are in the works of coming up with promo and merchandise that align with the health and safety standards of our university.