Most Outstanding Cultural Program Nomination: University of Texas at Austin – Culture Showcase
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Culture Showcase occurred on March 24th, at the University of Texas at Austin with about 160 participants. The goal of the program was to raise awareness of the Vietnamese culture through a unique and entertaining environment. Culture showcase brought together numerous members with various talents such as singing, dancing, and martial arts. Most of the 160 participants were Texas VSA members and took days and weeks out of their time to prepare for this event. The university was able to provide the facilities so most of the resources that we had were used for participant compensation as well as food that was provided for everyone in attendance. There were numerous sponsors that also made this event happen with their financial support. In addition, Texas VSA, through self-funding, was able to provide $1500 for this event, as this event was a free event. The marketing techniques included numerous facebook profile pictures and coverphotos as well as a fac ebook event. We also had marketing on most social media platforms such as twitter, instagram and snapchat.
How did this cultural program serve the campus and/or community?
Culture Showcase was a free event that was open to the entire UT Austin community. With the incentive of free shirts, we were able to bring out tons of attendees that were not Texas VSA members. This allowed us to show them the Vietnamese culture. Unfortunately, among some people there are some negative connotations that come with Asian American events and Texas VSA used Culture Showcase to not only negate those ideas but to show them a different side of the Vietnamese Culture. This event also allowed Texas VSA members to return to their roots. Many of our members are Asian Americans and this meant that some of them are detached from the Vietnamese culture. Some may have even thought that the Vietnamese culture is something only for their parents or something that is old-fashioned. With Culture Showcase, we encouraged these students to participate so that they understand the beauty and history of Vietnamese Culture. We were also able to show various s ides of Vietnamese culture that may not have been apparent to these members. Overall, this program helped the Asian American community by raising awareness for the Vietnamese culture.
How did the cultural program meet goals set by the organization?
Two majors goals set by the organization are creating a better social environment for Texas VSA members and raising awareness for the Vietnamese culture. Culture Showcase was able to accomplish both goals. First, Culture Showcase had more than 100 Texas VSA members participate. This meant weeks of practice and work. The Texas VSA members that participate are often seen becoming friends with each other due to the time that they are required to spend together. They are able to bond through preparing for this event. Second, Culture Showcase is exactly what is it said to be. It showcases the Vietnamese culture to the UT Austin community. By making this event free, we are able to ensure that anyone and everyone has the opportunity to experience the Vietnamese culture. Though these people aren’t able to travel to Vietnam to experience the beautiful culture, we can bring a piece of Vietnam to them and show them why we love the Vietnamese culture.
How did the organization overcome any challenges that arose while planning and implementing the cultural program?
One of the major challenges was the budget of Culture Showcase. Texas VSA is a non-profit, for-the-members organization. This meant that we never tried to make money off of our events and we tried our best to lowering our costs as low as possible so that the member dues would be the lowest as possible. Due to some of our overambitious efforts in the beginning of the year, the budget for this event had to be cut short last minute. This led to the event losing the guest performer as well as having a decreased budget for t-shirts and food. This was also a huge issue among the officers and was the basis of a lot of arguments. However, the officers were able to come to a conclusion that we wanted to what was best for the members and tried to allocate the funds in terms of member satisfaction. In the end, though the budget of Culture Showcase was cut significantly, we were able to provide one of our most successful events of the spring semester. In order to compromise, however, the officers pushed out various fundraising initiatives so that Culture Showcase would not have to suffer as much. Overall, we were able to make Culture Showcase amazing despite the lack of funds.
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/events/399426350415565/?ref=br_rs