California State University, Long Beach

Most Outstanding Philanthropic Program: CSULB VSA

Full Brochure:

Provide a detailed description of the philanthropic program and the population it served. Details MUST include: date of event, number of participants, program purpose (goals, objectives, etc.), use of resources (finances, community support, etc.), marketing techniques and evaluation processes.

We, the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) of California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), understand the importance of higher education as a path to gain knowledge and access to a successful life. Higher education can enable us to represent the Vietnamese community and its culture on a greater platform, creating leaders not just for the Vietnamese community, but American society in general.

CSULB VSA hosted the inaugural Vietnamese Graduation Celebration for our campus on Sunday, May 21, 2017. There were 40 participating graduates, 30 volunteers, and more than 250 guests attending the event. We also welcomed distinguished and honored guests, including the Vice President for Student Affairs at CSULB, Dr. Carmen Taylor, notable professors and staff, including Vietnamese language lecturer, Professor Quyen Di Chuc Bui, and our supportive alumni. The Mayor of Long Beach, Dr. Robert Garcia, also sent us his regards by providing certificates, on top of our own, from the city of Long Beach congratulating our graduates for their success and for our Inaugural Vietnamese Graduation.

We recognized Vietnamese students who graduated during the fall 2016, winter 2017, spring 2017, summer 2017, and fall 2017. The graduation celebration provided a platform for Vietnamese and Vietnamese American students, their families, and the University community to express pride and celebrate their academic accomplishments. The 2015/2016 year had 885 Vietnamese and Vietnamese American students graduating from CSULB.

The Vietnamese Graduation Celebration was able to provide a more intimate ceremony; an event in which each graduate can give a personalized dedication, and where family, friends, and alumni can come together and celebrate.

For it being our very first school-wide Vietnamese graduation event, finances were low, but we overcame the barrier by working hard to lobby for a grant from our school, and receiving a grant for the full requested amount, as well as hosting numerous fundraisers and obtaining some sponsors who graciously donated for our behalf.

Letter for Graduates: vgrad_invitational_letter_for_graduates_2017

What motivated the organization to host the philanthropic program? What efforts were used to motivate and involve the organization’s members?

VSA hosted this inaugural Vietnamese Graduation Celebration for the impact it would make on the community, campus and city-wide. By being closely involved with every step of the planning, prep, and execution process, with the support of our faculty and organization’s advisors, we in VSA were pushed to making this vision a reality. With a strong coordinating team, volunteers came from a handful of general members, alumni, and next year’s board members, who were inspired by the coordinating team’s hard work and effective call towards this momentous occasion for the Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American community within Long Beach and our campus CSULB.

How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program?

Because this was the very first event of its kind in the history of CSULB, having hardly a blueprint or example to follow for the Vietnamese Cultural Graduation was the biggest challenge of all, that created other smaller issues within itself along the way. Without a sample size for estimated participants as well as attendees, it was extremely difficult to plan, let alone fathom executing this dream of ours. However, with courage and resilience, the idea of it being the inaugural event as well as the challenge of it became the biggest motivation to overcome it and pull through. By putting in a lot of hard work, paying attention to detail, and delegating tasks effectively, as well as continuously receiving more support and funds from our efforts, the event grew to be a big success and a strong stepping-off point for our future years to come.

What was the outcome of the program in terms of goals met, successes, and failures?

With regards to coming very close to our original estimates of having 50 graduates and 300 attendees, we in VSA have considered this very big ambitious event a success, both situationally and financially. From many crucial risk assessments and contingency plans, to running into potential problems the day of, to solving them productively and garnering a positive response during and afterwards, we all agree many goals met and the event a provisional success, and all we can do from here is continue to grow and better the event and ourselves.

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