Vietnamese Student Association

The Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) refers to campus-based not-for-profit student groups located all over the world in areas where communities of overseas Vietnamese exist. It is also known as Hội Sinh Viên Việt Nam (postsecondary) or Hội Học Sinh Việt Nam (secondary) in Vietnamese.

Each VSA operates independently, therefore the structure, mission, membership requirements and activities may vary from school-to-school. In general, VSAs exist to preserve the Vietnamese culture and heritage. But because of these variations, some organizations operate under different names, such as Vietnamese Student Union (VSU), Vietnamese American Student Organization (VASO), etc. The majority of organizations, however, use Vietnamese Student Association as its name. The earliest documented establishment of a Vietnamese Student Association is 1968 at San Diego State University [ [ Vietnamese Student Association - San Diego State University] ] . Following the end of the Vietnam War on April 30, 1975, which brought about a massive exodus of refugees up until the early 1990s, many new VSAs were established to deal with the cultural transition for the refugees entering college.

VSAs are often affiliated with postsecondary schools, although a notable number are also affiliated with secondary schools. Most VSAs are structured to be run by a board of elected officers including, at minimum: president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. Other elected positions may include public relations, historian, webmaster, etc.


It is important to restate that each VSA is autonomous, and that it enters coalitions by choice. Unlike other chapter-based organizations that may require dues or an adherence to organizational policy for each chapter, these coalition-based organizations of VSAs exist autonomously as well. The following list helps to clarify the scope of each organization.


Beginning in the early 1980s, regional coalitions of these VSAs began to form, such as the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California (UVSA) in 1982, and the Vietnamese Students Association of Victoria (VSAV), Australia in 1983. In January 1999, the Federal Vietnamese Students Association of Australia (FVSAA) collaborated and hosted the first International Vietnamese Youth Conference in Melbourne, Australia inviting Vietnamese youth from around the world. [ [ Mạng Lưới Tuổi Trẻ Việt Nam Lên Ðường là gì?] ] The result of that conference formed the Len Duong International Vietnamese Youth Network. From thereon, a movement followed to strengthen the network.

Flag Politics

Many VSAs do not use the official flag of Vietnam to designate their country of origin, and instead often use the flag of South Vietnam, what is now known as the Vietnamese Heritage and Freedom Flag, which is banned in Vietnam. Like the general overseas Vietnamese community, the VSAs use this flag to indicate their stance on the illegitimacy of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Many VSAs have adopted this flag through formal resolutions or de facto usage. [ [ Native South Vietnamese favor old, unofficial flag] ]

* In 2004, some Vietnamese American students at the California State University, Fullerton threatened to walk out on their graduation ceremony to demand that the university use the former flag of South Vietnam as well as the current flag of Vietnam to represent its Vietnamese students. This resulted in the university scrapping all foreign flags for the ceremony. [ [ Vietnamese Flag Stirs New Anger] ]

* In 2006, Vietnamese-American students at the College of Engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington requested that the university add this flag in addition to the communist flag as a part of its student diversity in the Hall of Flags, Nedderman Hall. After several weeks of protests from the Vietnamese-American community in the area, the president removed all the flags from display in its Hall of Flags. [ [ UTA Officials Remove More Than 100 Flags After Protest] ]

With the rise of international students from Vietnam studying overseas, there has also been a conflict concerning the opposing flags. While there is no definitive study concerning flag usage of all Vietnamese student groups in the world, a few groups exist whose membership consists of Vietnamese international students, and who do use the official flag of Vietnam, such as the Vietnamese International Student Association of Adelaide. In the United States, they remain a minority among Vietnamese students, with approximately 6,000 international students out of 156,000 college-enrolled Vietnamese Americans as of the 2006 American Community Survey. [ [ Open Doors 2007: Report on International Educational Exchange, "TOP 20 LEADING PLACES OF ORIGIN OF INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS, 2005/06 & 2006/07"] ] [ [;ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201PR:048;ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201T:048;ACS_2006_EST_G00_S0201TPR:048 United States - Selected Population Profile in the United States (Vietnamese alone or in any combination)] ]

See also

* List of Vietnamese American Groups
* Overseas Vietnamese
* International Vietnamese Youth Conference


External links

* [ Ý Thức Maps] shows a map of VSAs around North America.
* [ uNAVSA Brainstorm] listing issues/interests concerning VSA members.
* [ VIA-1 Conference] Vietnamese Interacting As One
* [ VASCON4] Vietnamese American Student Conference
* [ Len Duong International Vietnamese Youth Network]
* [ Vietnamese Students Association of New South Wales] (Australia)
* [ ACT Vietnamese Overseas Student Association] (Australia)
* [ Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations]
* [ Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of the Midwest]
* [ United Vietnamese Student Associations of Northern California]
* [ Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of Southern California]
* [ Vietnamese American High School Alliance] (Los Angeles & Orange Counties, California)
* [ Vietnamese American Youth Alliance of San Diego (VAYA)]
* [ Vietnamese Student Association of Minnesota - Twin Cities]
* [ Vietnamese Students Association of Virginia Commonwealth University] (Richmond, VA)

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