Here at UVSA of Northern California, we would like to say “chúc mừng năm mới” to all of our members! We hope that you all have started out your 2014 with good luck, happiness, and love. As we say “hello” to the new year, we look back and acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and deep care of our leaders through an overview of NorCal UVSA in 2013:
The 6th annual NorCal UVSA Olympics, hosted at the University of California, Merced, was a day-long event promoting teamwork and unity through games both challenging and fun. Olympics Director Jason Le (UC Merced) held events including “Human Worm Race,” “Steal the Bacon,” “Iron Calvary,” and “Water Filling Battle.” The teams were divided by schools, with one “UVSA” team being the congregate of extra players from other teams. At the end of the day, the team with the most points took home the official NorCal UVSA Olympics trophy—we’re proud to announce that in the true spirit of unity, the UVSA team took home the prize!
Over the Summer, Crystal Huynh-Kim (UC Davis) and Anthony Nguyen (San Jose State Univ.) co-directed the NorCal UVSA Camp, an annual three-day camping trip that encompasses team-building activities, bonding, and opportunities to share experiences as students, leaders, and Vietnamese Americans. The campsite, located in San Mateo, California, hosted over 100 campers from not only Northern California, but VSA members from Southern California as well!
As we headed back to school in the Fall, UVSA organized a weekend leadership Summit that emphasized community as well as identity in the shifting Vietnamese American environment. Directors Vickie Duong (Cal) and Alex Quang (UC Santa Cruz) collaborated using Vickie’s UVSA experience as ICC and her involvement in past Summits along with Alex’s coordination with UC Santa Cruz, at which he is the current VSA vice president. Vietnamese-American director Steve Nguyen dropped by to show support as a keynote speaker and workshop host. Alex recollects his experience as a co-director with pride saying “seeing everyone have fun and everything that everyone worked hard for come to fruition was my favorite thing.” Certain parts of Summit allowed for family bonding time, where attendees were randomly placed into groups with which to navigate and connect with during the weekend. Co-director Vickie thought “it was really fun when everyone was running around trying to find their group. Everyone bonded and broke away from their comfort zone and started to meet other attendees. It was nice putting together an event where everyone was able to participate.”
To cap off the year, UVSA hosted a Winter Social in San Jose, where students from all eight affiliated schools came together to celebrate the end of finals and exchange presents. The potluck dinner was followed by socializing and a White Elephant gift exchange. Jonathan Tran (San Jose State Univ.), a first-time UVSA event director was happy to take a lead and knowing “that I’m making it happen. It was successful and it was fun.”
That’s not where UVSA stops—our organization is kicking off the New Year with several projects underway, including the 2014 Olympics and a Backpack Giveaway to Title I students in the Stockton, CA region. We hope that all of you, whether member, supporter, or sponsor, will share with us an upcoming year of service and gratitude!
With an eye toward the future, we would like to ask for your support in funding some of the big projects we have coming up this year. As most of you know, NorCal UVSA relies heavily on sponsorships to fund our events and it is always a challenge to try to make events fun and accessible to everyone, all while trying to keep the cost low. We are now a certified 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and will soon seek sponsors to help carry forward our organization. By the end of February, we will be featuring a “Donations” button on our website and we encourage you to donate!