Most Outstanding VSA of the Year: University of Texas at Austin Vietnamese Student Association
What are the purpose and goal(s) of the VSA, and how has the VSA met or exceeded those goals? Address how the VSA was outstanding in the following areas: recruitment, marketing, outreach to campus community, use of resources (financial, etc.), officer training and event planning.
Our VSA tables at every freshman orientation session during the summer. Throughout the school year, we table every day as well. Through rain and through 30 degree weather, we always have our table set up for anyone that wants to stop and merely ask about what VSA is all about and so our members can have a place to chill between their passing periods from 10am to 3pm every day of the week.
We hand out flyers during tabling and publicize our events by word of mouth. We are present on every social media platform: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and are always posting promos. Each major event has a video produced and profile pictures with graphics.
VSA is involved with many organizations on campus, asian and non-asian interest. We have participated in events such as Unity, Sigmas Benefit Concert, Kappas and Blazers Raise your voice, Lion’s club talent show, aKDPhi’s Mr. Pink, and more.
Officer training consists of one on one’s with past officer, past officers leaving manuals for successors. Semester long occurs interning in the spring where any member can join at any time
Goals of interning include fundraising money, booking banquet hall, ordering food, planning program events all for the end of the year banquet. Interns would meet once a week to discuss progress of banquet planning and officers would give input and address any concerns they had. Interns would attend every officer meeting (once a week) as well.
Each event planned consists of an itinerary that is introduced a month before the event. Committees are set and we hold each other accountable. Every meeting leading up will go over the itinerary and address progress and issues. After the event has happened, the next officer meeting will recap on how the event went and what improvements can be made.
How did the VSA work together to maximize strengths and overcome weaknesses? How did the group work to establish responsibility and accountability among its members? Provide specific examples of how the student group demonstrated growth and development in the 2017-2018 academic year.
The organization was motivated to host Date Auction because it helps bring the community together, both locally and externally, by promoting each others’ various philanthropies while also raising money for charity in an interactive manner. To motivate and involve the Texas VSA’s members, members volunteered to contribute by helping with decorations for the event, such as painting the backdrop, which allowed them to meet and bond with other members. Another way we encouraged members to attend the event was to offer our exclusive long-sleeve shirts, only to people who attended the event. We also implemented an actual auction where some of the officers were auctioned off to go on dates with the highest bidder. This allowed attendees to have a more active role during the event rather than just watching performances. Some of the problems that arose during the planning stages was pushing back deadlines and essentially leaving a lot of things last minute such as the program which ended up having errors in the final print. Because this was a time issue, the only way to remediate this problem is sticking to deadlines in the future and double-checking and proofreading each person’s responsibility before the event. During the event, some of the problems arose because we underestimated the size of the room thus not having long enough wires for the tech which pushed us behind schedule. We overcame this issue by being able to adapt quickly to the situation and delegating new tasks, such as sending people to drive to rent longer cables and asking the hotel if they could let us borrow some cables. This allows us to not only facilitate communication effectively, but also learn from our mistakes for future endeavors. Despite a few mistakes, I believe that this year’s Date Auction was a success because we met our desired goal in terms of money raised and number of attendees as well as the positive feedback that we received from people who came.