UMKC’s Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) promoted Vietnamese culture on Sunday as they celebrated Lunar New Year at the Student Union.
Students were invited to come to the event to learn about the culture and Lunar New Year celebrations in Vietnam through traditional games, cuisine and performances.
“It’s basically Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter combined into one holiday,” VSA President Phung Tran said. “We would usually take the whole month off in Vietnam, similar to a winter break.”
Tran and the rest of the VSA members have been planning the event since October, due to a long process of budget requests.
There are seven members on the board, and many other students volunteered to help with the event. VSA hoped to recruit more members during the celebration to help out international students who may be missing their homes.
“International students feel lonelier around this time of year because they cannot visit their families back home,” said Tran. “There’s no way for us to go back home in the middle of the semester.”
VSA’s main goal for the event was to show international students that they have a home away from home.
They feel that promoting their culture to other students is the best way to help them.
The event also came with a photo booth and props made by VSA. Items that were included, such as flowers and conical hats, symbolize the beauty of Vietnamese culture.
Cultural appropriation during times of celebration happens when people ignore the background and reason behind a certain aspect of a culture.
When asked how VSA deals with such occurrences Tran said, “Anyone can make fun of anything. A celebration of culture is a beautiful thing. We won’t let something like that spoil it for us.”
VSA members sang a traditional Vietnamese song to end the celebration. People were also asked to join VSA if they enjoyed the celebration.
“We hope to bring the promotion of culture to a newer level,” Tran said. Adding, “we want to help students build leadership skills so their time with us can seem more valuable.”
Are you interested in promoting Vietnamese culture? The VSA would love your help. Email President Phung Tran (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.