VSA puts on first-ever Vietnamese Heritage Week

To expand its reach to students on campus, the Vietnamese Student Association hosted its inaugural Vietnamese Heritage Week from Monday through Friday this week.

The Vietnamese Student Association hosted its inaugural Vietnamese Heritage Week. Wanting He | Daily Trojan

The organization coordinated events highlighting a different aspect of the Vietnamese culture, including beauty and films.

“By having one event everyday, hopefully we can reach a lot of people and hopefully people who haven’t come out to our event before might come to learn something [and] enjoy all the free stuff we have,” VSA senior adviser Allison Mai said.

The week kicked off on April 2 with a photo campaign. VSA encouraged students to take photos with a sign that read: “I love Vietnamese culture because…”

According to Vietnamese Culture Night Director Nathan Vo, the varied responses demonstrated how differently Vietnamese culture can be experienced for each individual.

“Some people [said], ‘I love Vietnamese culture because I love my mom’s food,’” Vo said. “I said, ‘I love Vietnamese culture because it represents resilience and strength,’ because of the whole refugee experience that many refugees have gone through after the Vietnamese War.”

According to Mai, the events provide entertaining and educational experiences to learn about the history behind Vietnamese traditions through activities involving cuisine, fashion and games. Mai was specifically in charge of the Fashion and Beauty event in Taper Hall on Tuesday.

“There are a few main points that we [covered included] how Vietnamese culture has evolved over time, how these styles have been represented by Vietnamese immigrants in the U.S. and how Vietnamese Americans have influenced the beauty industry, like the nail salon industry,” Mai said.

Another event on Wednesday featured traditional Vietnamese games.

“I grew up playing these different traditional games with my parents, cousins and extended family … so I think it is really cool to share these games with people,” Vo said. “Especially those who have never played them before. So you can show them what you grew up with.”

Vo said that he is optimistic about the benefits and accessibility to Vietnamese culture that Heritage Week brings to both the organization and all USC students.

“[Heritage Week] is a lot of work,” Vo said. “But I think it is really beneficial to not just for the club, but for the USC student body in general to get a taste of Vietnamese culture … a culture of perseverance and never giving up.”