Trent University – Khiem Hoang

VSA Member of the Year Nomination: Khiem Hoang

Why was this person selected as “Member of the Year” for your organization? What was the criteria to be a recipient of this award?

Khiem was selected as “Member of the Year” because he embodies the character and reflects the values that our UVSA strives towards. The United Vietnamese Students’ Association of Ontario (UVSA Ontario) works to cultivate leadership, promote Vietnamese culture, engage in philanthropy, and create a sense of unity among VSAs in the province. This year, Khiem demonstrated his growth as a leader while serving as the co-president for the University of Toronto-Mississauga’s (UTM) VSA. We believe that he is deserving of this title because he continuously shares his passion for Vietnamese culture and history with different people through his work with UTMVSA, his community involvement, and through his daily interactions. UVSA Ontario encourages youth and students to celebrate Vietnamese culture and Khiem was able to do so in a respectful, creative, and engaging way during his performance as a main character at our Ignite Cultural Show. Furthermore, UVSA Ontari o encourages students to unite with other VSAs and to learn from one another. Khiem did an outstanding job creating friendships with individuals from different VSAs across Ontario at several of our professional, cultural, and social events this year.

Khiem’s warm and genuine spirit helped him form many real and lifelong connections within the VSA community. As co-president, he united members of their association despite their differences. He has gone beyond and above his role by lending his unique passion, experience, and knowledge to the VSA community. As a result of his interactions and hard work, he has gained the respect of his teammates and peers across Ontario.

Describe the roles the nominee has held in his/her community and how these roles have influenced your organization. Provide examples.

Khiem’s role in the VSA community has been deep and diverse. He has been involved in the following:
-UTM: General Executive, Cultural Director, VP Internal, Co-President
-Main Character in UTMVSA’s performance, ” Tết Ta Ở Phương Tây at Ignite
-Student Intern with Senator Hai Ngo

Through his various leadership roles in UTMVSA, he was able to galvanize interest and enthusiasm for both UTMVSA and UVSA Ontario’s events and social media posts. He recruited a significant portion of their exec team and worked to bring out everyone’s potential. Khiem recorded a video playing the ukulele and singing to raise awareness about UNAVASA’s CPP campaign and the Catalyst Foundation. He played a vital role in strengthening VSA’s solidarity and teamwork. Khiem strongly believes in an executive team where everyone feels included. He coordinated UTM VSA’s group costume and their university won for the best team costume at UVSA’s Halloween Bash.

He was integral to strengthening UTM’s bonds with external groups. He spearheaded the earliest efforts to collaborate with VSAs and community organizations by attending events and representing Vietnamese youth. He provides constructive criticism and offers feedback that helps our organization understand our shortcomings at our general VSA meetings. In that way, he assists us in learning how we can improve and grow. For example, after reading our newsletters, he suggested that we include more variety rather than just listing the events that have occurred. His performance in with UTMVSA at our Ignite Cultural Show moved audiences as he highlighted generational and cultural differences between parents and children in a traditional Vietnamese family during Lunar New Year.

UVSA Ontario encourages students and young professionals to develop a propensity for service. Khiem participated in an Internship Program that provides Vietnamese-Canadian youth with skills and experience in human rights awareness. As a student intern for Senator Hai Ngo, he learned about the principles of democratic government and parliamentary procedures in Canada, while assisting Senator Hai Ngo. His active participation in learning more about Canadian politics and support for Vietnamese community leaders demonstrates his efforts to become a well-informed and civically-engaged citizen.

What qualities does the nominee have that makes him/her stand out within your organization? Provide examples.

Khiem stands out because of his sincere, fun, and quirky personality. He is a natural at making friends and creating a sense of community. His gentle nature and generosity with compliments brightens anyone’s day. This year, he has established friendships with UVSA executives, general VSA members, and other VSAs. He is able to unite people regardless of their differences and creates inclusive spaces for them to share their stories. People approach him because they know that he will not judge them and know that he will always offer a comforting shoulder for them to lean on.

As a sociology and politics student, he always offers a critical but empathetic perspective and always tries to look for ways to improve society as a whole. He helps UTMVSA and UVSA Ontario to grow and expand influence by looking at our shortcomings and helping to find sustainable solutions. In that way, he is a visionary. Not only does he understand the issues in the present, he also sees a future in which Vietnamese youth are more engaged in the community. He works towards that vision by volunteering with his VSA at community events such as Hoi Cho Tet and at the Vietnamese Association of Toronto’s Christmas Party. Through Khiem’s leadership and support, UTM was one of the VSAs that impressed us with their contribution to the larger Vietnamese community.

Khiem doesn’t focus only on the Vietnamese community because he realizes the need for youth to address many social issues. With this realization, he balanced his VSA activities with other leadership positions. For example, he helped organize a charity run to alleviate poverty. He also volunteered at a campus mental health support group that promoted a more mental-health positive environment and aided students in need. Khiem recognizes the larger social issues that affect all peoples, regardless of their ethnicity, religious, affiliation, etc.

Within our organization, Khiem stands out as a passionate, educated, involved, and caring individual. Through his personal interactions, leadership activities, and volunteer experience, he exemplifies what it means to be a young Vietnamese-Canadian leader with a propensity for friendship, community, and service.

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