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?
Our biggest challenge, due to the Coronavirus, was having to cancel our annual cultural show, Xuân. A lot of work was put into it over the course of the school year, and to have it suddenly canceled was heartbreaking. However, we quickly began looking into alternative ways to showcase our Vietnamese culture and the work of many. In the end, a website was put together by our Xuân directors and their committee team that included the skit screenplay, skit podcast, food menu, as well as the responses of what love meant for our members. A donation link was set up to donate to UNAVSA’s CPP, as usually, this show was our biggest fundraiser and we still wanted to contribute to the CPP. Our club did not let the Coronavirus stop us from showing off our hard work.
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?
We continued to host our annual events like our end of the year banquet, just modified to fit our zoom lifestyle. We created many different ways to get our members involved and to showcase our members by utilizing our social media like having instagram pet takeovers, cooking guides, and tik tok challenges. We had an overwhelming number of members wanting to participate. Our historian and her media team created a 100+ page yearbook, compiling all of our events this year, alongside with multiple pictures of our members to showcase all the memories we made this year and showing the board’s appreciation for every member.
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?
There needs to be a balance such that folks do not get overwhelmed with social media content. We get a lot of news through things like Twitter and Instagram. So while we are doing language lessons, Tik Tok challenges, or virtual cooking lessons, we know that a balance is key such that we are presenting content and initiatives intentionally so members stay engaged.
A big part of VSA is talking about culture and politics, but there is also beauty in doing events to have fun. Whether it be movie nights, playing Club Penguin with one another, or playing other games online, events that are more social and relaxing during a time like COVID-19 are important. Rest is productive as it allows us to recharge, and we must also bear in mind that in members going home, they have obligations such as work or helping their families, even navigating mental health. So having events that allow for that recharge is critical, as online learning can be more difficult than in class-learning in many cases.
There are ways to showcase culture virtually. While certainly not ideal, our cultural show committee worked to create a website to showcase the skit, recipes of food we would have served, our decorations, and pictures of our committee. We learned that culture can be shown to a broad audience virtually, and we can still build community in that way and have a way to have folks donate to philanthropy project.
SUVSA is only as strong as the members, so it is critical to have their input on what they want to see out of a quarter. This goes for any, but especially during pandemic when we are physically distancing and do not see each other in person. The strongest clubs serve its members needs, so member input into what programming and events they want is critical to having members come support the organization.