Most Outstanding Cultural Program Nomination: CSUN VSA
Date: April 1st, 2017
Number of Participants: 110
Audience Attendance: 325
Program Purpose: Educate the campus and local community about the Vietnamese Culture. Provide a way to cultivate the leadership and growth of VSA membership.
Member involvement: Acting, dancing, choir, modern & traditional dance, stage crew, sponsorship, public relations and graphic design, props design, and fundraising.
Use of resources: Funds from the campus, alumni, sponsorship and membership resources. Usage of relationship with UVSA SoCal to borrow ao dai and non la.
Marketing techniques: Advertising on the TV’s on campus, visiting classrooms, countdown campaigns, posting flyers, Snapchat filters, YouTube promotional videos, selling free food on campus to students who tag & post the upcoming VCN on campus.
Evaluations processes: They sent out VCN surveys to their staff at the end to evaluate if the program is worth continuing. They also examined the amount of audience attendance to determine if it’s appropriate to continue using the venue.
How did this cultural program serve the campus and/or community?
This programed served the campus by providing a showcase of culture, while at the same time being unique. The musical element provided a fun twist to what the VCN’s typically are annually. It also served as extra credit for many students majoring in Asian American Studies.
How did the cultural program meet goals set by the organization?
For the 2016 – 2017, the Executive Board of CSUN VSA dedicated itself to the purpose of Innovation and Growth. In line with this, they decided to make this year’s VCN something new and innovative, a musical, as a opposed to just a traditional theatrical production. This made their VCN unique to all of the different VCN’s across the SoCal region this year. Even though the bulk of their talent lacked experience with singing, they practiced for weeks and dedicated themselves to singing rehearsal. This is also gave their actors a chance to really break out of their comfort zone and emerge as leaders.
In addition, through the various committees outside of acting, interns and general members were allowed lead them or participate and also grow.
This year, CSUN VSA used a brand new theater, the Plaza Del Sol. For the academic years of 2014-2015 & 2015 – 2016, they used a theater that seats 393 and costed the Org around $2,200. For the 2016 – 2017 academic year, the Plaza Del Sol seated more people, 440 seats, but also cost $5744 for the venue rental. In just one year, their Venue costs more than doubled and the amount of available seats grew.
This change in venue really surprised long termed members and alumni. CSUN VSA was formed in 2012 and is a relatively new Asian Org on campus. For years, the only Asian Org on campus to use the Plaza Del Sol was the Filipino American Student Association (FASA), which had been on campus for over 30 years. Many alumni, including myself felt it’d be impossible for such a new org like CSUN VSA to afford the Plaza Del Sol. Thus the new venue proved to membership and alumni that the club is growing in spirit and prestige.
How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program?
One of the biggest challenges to overcome was the increase in seats. CSUN VSA made the VCN free for the first time in history, this enabled them to receive more funding from the campus. With the funds from the campus, the Plaza Del Sol was entirely paid for, however they then faced the challenge of filling seats. The campus a sizeable attendance to make their sponsorship worth it. For the previous 2015-2016 year, CSUN VSA’s VCN had only filled 140 seats in a 393 seat theater. So for the new VCN, they knew they’d have to at least double attendance.
Thus the organization reached out both the local community and campus entities like never before:
– They reached out to Professors in the Asian American Studies Department. They agreed to make viewing the free show extra credit.
– They hired the campus band. The band performed the Opening Ceremony, which included them having to the learn the anthem for the Republic of Vietnam.
– They hired a local lion dance group to perform.
– They invited local dance group, Audiomind, to teach their members modern dance. And for repayment, they allowed Audiomind to perform a set during VCN.
– They advertised at the local San Fernando Valley Vietnamese Center, and for the first time used flyers in all Vietnamese.
– They reached out to the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California (UVSA) and marketed their VCN through their FB page.
In addition, hiring groups such as lion dance and the campus band, required hundreds of dollars. So they aggressively fundraised both on and off campus.
As a result of their efforts, they had 325 in attendance at their VCN and satisfied the campus. This attendance was also more double what the VCN from prior years ever attained. With all the internal support outside, alongside the outside groups participating and bringing their friends and family, a brand new audience was introduced to the Vietnamese Culture and CSUN VSA.