by Caitlyn Richtman
UGA’s Vietnamese Student Association took over The Classic Center in downtown Athens the night of Saturday Jan. 14 for their annual cultural event, Night in Saigon. Although the event is held every year, this is the first year it was held in The Classic Center.
VSA chose the theme of 13 Gifts of the Past for this year’s event. The theme highlighted the different struggles the VSA second generation students face while also reflecting back on their parents struggles as first generation immigrants and how the two are interconnected.
“It’s nice to showcase our culture to the students in Athens and all the people who come from out of state,” said Jody Dinh, secretary of UGA’s VSA.
Night in Saigon is at its core a charity event with this year’s proceeds going to the Catalyst Foundation. The Catalyst Foundation is an organization that helps to stop human traffic in Vietnam through education, community building, vocational training, food, and healthcare.
The doors of The Classic Center opened at 6 p.m. and guests dined on food donated by sponsors before sitting down to enjoy the four hour long production. The show was centered around a skit which followed the life of three second generation vietnamese americans. The three are shown struggling with pressure from parents, depression, and finding their passion. The skit also flashed back in time to show their parents escaping Vietnam and finding their place in American society.
In between scenes of the skit, the audience enjoyed other entertainment put on by the VSA which included dance routines, songs, magic, a fashion show, and a spoof of The Bachelor.
Students from all over the southeast traveled to see the show. Representatives from VSA’s came from University of Florida, University of South Carolina, and University of Central Florida among others attended the event.
VSA spends all year preparing and fundraising for Night in Saigon with their year revolving around the winter event.
“We have a year to prepare for [Night in Saigon],” Dinh said. “This is our main event and all of fall is basically spent preparing for this and the summer is when we are planning it. This event is completely philanthropic so all of the proceeds go to charity.”
Caitlyn Richtman is the Features Editor for Infusion Magazine.