In January from 24-26, I attended MAUVSA ADVANCE CONFERENCE III. It’s a three days conference about hosted by MAUVSA (Mid-Atlantic Union of Vietnamese Student Association), a cultural organization which “seeks to serve, empower, and unify the Vietnamese American community, the VSAs of the Mid-Atlantic region through inspiring young Vietnamese Americans, fostering cultural awareness, promoting social justice and leadership, and being the voice of their members” (mauvsa.org) More than 9 schools from DC, Maryland, and Virginia such as UVA, GWU, VT, Georgetown U, UMBC and others gathered in Front Royal, VA to take part in this wonderful event. This year’s conference theme focuses on Vietnamese American young adults looking into their cultural roots, gaining a stronger sense of self to be better equipped in mapping their future.
Being a freshman, it was my first time attending MAUVSA ADVANCE CONFERENCE. Together with my friends we signed up for the conference, booked a hotel room at Holiday Inn where the conference took place, packed our stuff, and set out to Front Royal. As it’s all settled down, we changed into business casual clothes for the opening ceremony. Many interesting guest speakers were invited to come. ILryong Moon – a professor at Harvard University – gave a speech on his own determination to succeed as an immigrant, shared his struggles and comfort zone in the U.S. and what it takes to be a leader especially for a person of ethnic minority, and what being a minority leader means to community. This year there were the most number of attendees at the conference than were in any previous years – up to 226 students from different universities. James Madison University VSA once again hold the title of the highest number of students with 30+ attendees. After the opening ceremony, the rest of the evening was full with fun games, ice-breakers, laughter and joys. My team the FAVE 5 came third in a competition. It was a memorable night of networking and making new friends.
The second day of the conference was all about workshops. It was really involving and fascinating to participate in these workshops with great topics and incredible speakers. We learnt about the lion dance in “Lion Dance Past, Present & Future” workshop. The ”Effective Communications is NOT Optional” workshop presented useful tips on how you can improve your skills in written, oral and non-verbal communications and helped to assess what you’re strong in and what you’re not, and how you can take steps to address those areas. In ”Purpose-Driven Leadership” interactive workshop, we discussed what it means to be a purpose-driven leader, learnt about what separates the great organizations and great leaders from the not-so-great and were shared with basic understanding of how we can inspire people to act. In the evening, the conference ballroom was brightened up with beautiful people and their shinning personalities. A great gala-concert and delicious dinner for all the participants was accompanied with a rich amusing entertainment program. Famous FreeStyle Crew and Maximus Regaldo provided us with magnificent catchy dance moves; my friends from James Madison University – the music trio – filled up the atmosphere with their soulful music; and, of course,“DJ Knom” who played on the music beats for the after-party. MA-ALL-DAY!