University of Ottawa and Carleton University

Most Resilient VSA

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?

Due to the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, all activities on school campuses were shut down in mid-March and the courses transitioned online. For AeVSA, this meant that they were unable to host their final event of the year, a Running Man Challenge. The intent of the Running Man Challenge was to allow students to take a short break from studying and participate in different activities and tasks with the team. This was also meant to continue developing the bonds between VSA members, foster a greater sense of family within the VSA team and fundraise for future club activities. Unfortunately, the implementation of social distancing rules and new campus policies did not allow this to be realized. 

To overcome the challenges of social distancing and physical isolation, the members of the AeVSA team decided to host nightly Tetris tournaments. This served as a way for members to continue interacting with each other and bond over their shared love for the game. The friendly competition helped break down some personal barriers to allow the members to be more relaxed and vulnerable with one another, deepening their connection.


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?

In order to maintain the connections between members, some individuals on the team began working out together (via video call). This allowed them to stay accountable to their fitness goals and gave them an opportunity for socialization. Initially organizing the group of members who were working out together was difficult because of connectivity issues and scheduling differences. However, once the fitness group met up a few times online, they were more familiar with the process and the work outs were more productive and effective. Good communication and flexibility were important factors to ensure the success and continuation of their fitness calls. 

This was also an opportunity for AeVSA to reach out to farther schools or organizations which they would not normally interact with. Since the majority of the VSAs were stuck at home, some individuals in AeVSA took this as an opportunity to 

potentially collaborate with different organizations interested in celebrating Vietnamese culture through an online platform. This will result in an upcoming trivia night co-hosted by AeVSA. 

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?

The COVID-19 times are unprecedented and I applaud the team for their ability to adapt and adjust. Despite the challenges that arose, all the members at the end of the year were satisfied with what they gained from AeVSA this year. The team saw firsthand how important it is to be flexible with their planning. Although most of the time planning for events is spent thinking about what should happen and how to do to things right, it is also important to have a contingency plan in case things go wrong. Their resourcefulness during the last part of the winter semester is admirable because it allowed the members to stay connected through difficult times. While the fate of the upcoming school year has not been determined, the dedication of the AeVSA team to continually build friendships and celebrate Vietnamese culture reassures me that will see through this pandemic. 

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