University of Utah – Khanh Cao

VSA Member of the Year Nomination: Khanh Cao


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

“Member of the Year” award has been a topic in which our organization discussed, however, it has not been implemented within the Southwest Union of VIetnamese Student Associations (SWUVSA). Our vision of the recipient holding this title would possess the qualities of demonstrating their dedication and commitment within VSA/VASA and SWUVSA to growing as an individual and a leader while helping others. A prominent individual rose to the top of the list among other candidates as she won the hearts of our board members.. When you meet Khanh Phuong Cao, you will learn that she is an outgoing person with a big heart and bright personality. Her commitment and dedication to VASA and SWUVSA has proven to be the reason why she would be an outstanding member within the Southwest region. Khanh joined VASA her freshman year of college and after that, her love for the organization grew. She went from being secretary to president for the organization that she ca lls her second family. Khanh constantly challenges herself and continues to strive for personal leadership growth as well as growth in the greater Vietnamese community by dedicating herself to multiple organizations such as VASA, SWUVSA, as well as the Vietnamese Volunteer Youth of Utah. Khanh has surpassed all of our expectations and it is such joy to have witness her grow as an individual and leader as the outgoing President for VASA’s at the University of Utah.

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

Khanh has demonstrated her passion for the Vietnamese community through her involvement with VASA for the past five years, and SWUVSA for the past two years. Her dedication for VASA gave her the courage to apply and be elected for the Secretary position in her third year, and President the following year. Khanh expressed much gratitude for SWUVSA and UNAVSA as some of the many inspirations in her life, as she states, “UNAVSA-12 inspired me into wanting to do more for VASA. Like just seeing how involved everyone was and seeing how much everyone can learn from one another.” Khanh challenged herself to be more involved within the Vietnamese community outside of VASA, in which she served as a member of CoSR, Family Leader for SWUVSA’s first Apex Conference in 2015, and Hospitality Director for Apex-2 Conference in 2017. Her passion and dedication gave her the opportunity to serve as a mentor to many leaders within the VASA and SWUVSA.. She is the d efinition of a role model to many individuals in the Vietnamese community. Day by day, she continues to impress us with her devotion and compassion for the Vietnamese community. We are overwhelmed with joy and consider ourselves incredibly fortunate as she will be serving as SWUVSA’s Intern for the upcoming year.

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

Khanh is a wonderful example of hard work, dedication, and commitment because she was able to revive VASA during her term as president. VASA lacked structure and membership before Khanh became president. During her presidency, Khanh and her eboard members put a family program in place in hopes of retaining members, meetings were designed to keep members engaged and active in VASA such as socials, “VASA’s Great Amazing Race”, and summer olympics. This year, for the first time ever, VASA initiated a music video dare campaign in which constituents were able to donate money towards CPP and once a benchmark was made, the officers would perform an action such as proposing to a random stranger in public or twerking. This is an example of how Khanh is always willing to give back to the community. She also seeks to guide and mentor the younger generation by encouraging their involvement within the local community such as joining VASA or other organizati ons that are geared towards leadership. Khanh continues to serve as an inspiration in her community because of her willingness to challenge herself and motivate those around her. When asked, her sister, Anh Cao describes Khanh as “incredibly hardworking and willing to contribute to VASA in every way such as encouraging leadership and increasing member participation. sincerely cared about the bigger picture and wanted as many students at the u of u to be part of that alongside with her. through her ups and downs as president, she always stayed dedicated and kept pushing forward for every event, meeting, and service.”