A Little History
Welcome! The Vietnamese Students Association at MIT was founded in
the late 1970s shortly after the first waves of Vietnamese immigrants
arrived on US shores after the fall of Saigon in 1975. Now, more than
twenty years later, a new generation of Vietnamese-American students are
proud to carry on the VSA tradition.
Academics always has been very important to us. In the early years
of the VSA, Vietnamese students were faced with the additional challenge
of learning an entirely new language and the pain of separation from
their homeland and loved ones. In spite of, or rather because of those
obstacles, our predecessors were motivated to excel in academics and to
prove that their generation was worthy to carry on the Vietnamese
heritage. Their efforts have born fruits, as evident in the
numerous academic laurels they had garnered. A bright star among them,
Tue Nguyen, made the record book by achieving an unprecedented seven degrees
from MIT. Today, VSA alumni occupy important and prestigious positions
in companies and institutions across the US and abroad.
While school is our utmost priority, it is not our only priority.
For as long as the VSA has been in existence, we are well-represented
within the MIT community and within the Vietnamese community in
Massachusetts. At MIT, we have actively participated in intramural
sports and the International Fair, which is designed to highlight
cultural diversity at MIT. VSA members also take part in diverse groups
on campus, from varsity teams to the orchestral choir. Within the
Vietnamese community, we always have been a part of the annual
Vietnamese New Year celebration and other events of significance to the
Within our own group, we have strived to strengthen the bonds of
friendship through numerous VSA dinners, trips, sports events, and
informal get-togethers. The VSA dinner has been a staple of VSA
activity for as long as anyone can remember. Throughout the year,
one of us invariably volunteers to invite the rest of the club over for
some delicious home-made Vietnamese food. After dinner, everyone usually
sticks around for a movie or a few uproarious rounds of Taboo. The Tet
potluck is the most popular. During New Year's Eve 1998, twenty-five people
showed up with all kinds of traditional yummies ; afterwards, everyone
became embroiled in the "traditional" Tet festivities: ba^`u cua ca'
co.p and -da'nh ba`i.
Our grandest dinner, however, is the Senior
Dinner. This is an occasion for us to say farewell in style to our
friends who are graduating. The program includes a delectable dinner
followed by a fun-filled entertainment program and a dance party. Our
pride and joy is the entertainment program, which consists of Vietnamese
dances, singing, and the often side-splitting skits. For many of us,
writing and performing in skits have been the most entertaining part of
the VSA. Past skits have parodied love (Romeo and Juliette), fashion
show (the Kendall-T fashion show), beauty contest (the Supermodel contest),
traditional dance (the Bowl and Chopstix Dance), and movies (Stars Wars,
MITV Singled Out, Good Will Nguyen), to name a few.
The composition of the VSA has changed over the years. Now many of us
were born and raised in the US. Nonetheless, we are no less interested
in learning about and maintaining our Vietnamese heritage. Since March
1997, we have organized a weekly Vietnamese class, which has attracted
many Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese students from MIT and from other
schools as well.