Get To Know A Club – Vietnamese Student Association

Get to know a club is a column where students can read about the different clubs on campus and what they do.
One of the greatest aspects of TU student life is the number of multicultural organizations at the university. These organizations allow students from different backgrounds to feel represented, meet other community members and spread parts of their culture to their fellow students. One of these multicultural organizations is the Vietnamese Student Association (formerly known as the Vietnamese American Student Association). Teresa Nguyen, president of the Vietnamese Student Association, shared her thoughts about the 5-year-old organization and relayed some exciting upcoming events.
According to Nguyen, the overall purpose of VSA is to “connect, network, and unite those who are of Vietnamese descent as well as those with an interest in Vietnamese culture. We strive to facilitate a gateway with the TU student body to understand Vietnamese culture further, as well as promote awareness of Vietnamese culture and promote diversity on TU’s campus.” Teresa states VSA’s existence is beneficial outside of campus, as they have used their platform to “work toward the collective benefit of the Tulsa and Vietnamese community, welcome cultural diversity, advocate for social justice, and raise a voice in global issues affecting the domestic and international Vietnamese communities.”
When asked how often VSA meets, Nguyen explained that she and the other VSA officers meet once a week in officer-exclusive meetings. However, VSA occasionally hosts general body meetings that are open to the general public and non-officer VSA members. At these meetings, members get to play games and learn about upcoming events, performances, merchandise, officer applications and more. Free food is also provided for all event attendees because, according to Nguyen, there is no better way to bond with people than through food (a statement I could not agree with more). The next general meeting will be hosted this Friday, Feb. 2.
VSA is known for hosting large and popular school-wide events. VSA was responsible for putting together the stellar Moon Festival last year, and Nguyen teased details of TU’s annual Lunar New Year Festival happening on Friday, Feb. 16. The Lunar New Year Festival is VSA’s largest event of the year hosted in collaboration with other multicultural organizations including Asian American Student Association and Association of International Students. All TU students and faculty are welcome to attend for free and the general public can attend with an $8 fee for food. There will be games, a Lion and Dragon dance and other activities at the event for people to enjoy. VSA performs a traditional fan or hat dance at this event every year, with Nguyen emphasizing these performances are not officer-exclusive and welcome anyone to join the dances. VSA is currently looking for four additional students to participate in the VSA couples dance at the Lunar New Year Festival, with practices held every Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.
When asked why someone should join VSA, Nguyen responded that (other than the fact that the organization is awesome) one of the highlights of VSA is its close-knit community. “The best part of having a close-knit community is that we can connect and engage with our [general non-officer] members on a more personal level at our events which provide a safe space for people to unwind, be themselves, meet new people, try out new things, and just enjoy themselves!” said Nguyen, who added that the environment of VSA allowed her to view her fellow officers as her family of brothers and sisters or “gia đình” in Vietnamese. Nguyen attributes this familial relationship to the atmosphere she works to create during and outside of weekly officer meetings. “We value everyone’s input, actively listen to everyone’s ideas, and work together as a team to achieve the same goals. Because of this, we’ve created a strong sense of unity, trust, and support with one another.”
VSA membership is also free, with the group typically recruiting members to join during the annual Fall Activities Fair. But VSA plans to have another table at the Spring Activities Fair on Wednesday, Jan. 31, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For any non-Vietnamese readers interested in joining VSA, never fear! Nguyen reassures that VSA is not exclusive to Vietnamese students, stating, “There is no criteria to become a member of VSA except for an open mind and appreciation for our culture! Since part of our mission promotes an inclusive and diverse environment on campus, we welcome people of all different backgrounds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and/or gender identities who might be curious about Vietnamese culture, enjoy the cuisine, or just like the vibes at our events.”
To stay updated on VSA announcements or keep in contact with the VSA team, follow @vsa_utulsa on Instagram or join the VSA GroupMe (link in their Instagram bio). Both accounts are run by the co-social media chairs Ngan Dao and Betty Lam. Other notable executive officers include Internal Vice President Nhan Nguyen, External Vice President Sarah Tran, Secretary Maivi Nguyen, Treasurer Nathan Nguyen, Fundraising Chair Hao Dang, Internal Executive Assistant Teresa Dan, External Executive Assistant David Le, and Freshman Liaisons Jenny Vo and William Nguyen.

Post Author: Michael Tran