June 5, 2022

Giving Week 2022: The human values ​​behind the numbers

June 5, 2022

Giving Week is an annual crowdfunding campaign at Fulbright to give wings to students’ dreams through the Student Development Fund and contribute to the construction of the cutting-edge campus in District 9. Besides the financial value, the campaign has fostered unity among Fulbright’s community members as well as other groups in the larger society.  

 

Fundraising results are often associated with numbers, but more than that, we desire to unfold the stories, the feelings, and the great efforts behind those numbers, with immense gratitude and pride. 

Nearly VND 500,000,000 (approx. USD 22,000) contributed by the Fulbright community and supporters

Many “bricks” (equivalent to USD 440 per brick), “tamarind trees” (equivalent to USD 880 per tree), and “saplings” (equivalent to VND 22 per sapling)  supporting the construction of the new campus and the students’ initiatives were donated by an empathetic community. That community has been growing bigger day by day. 

“Community” is a collective noun that implies solidarity and like-mindedness, yet on the other hand, “community” also carries within itself the diversity of many groups and individuals, who unite at a crossroads of love for the University and belief in liberal education.

It is a community of more than 750 students including current undergraduate students and master students with different backgrounds, pursuits, identities, and expressions. Their contribution consists of direct donations and fundraising initiatives. 

It is a community of alumni, from recent graduates to those who have left the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM)  for years. Following the “pay it forward” tradition towards a sustainable education, the alumni’s contribution is a noble gesture of “giving” not to the University but to the future generation of Vietnam.

It is a community of Fulbright Scholars and  Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) Fellows. Being trained in liberal educational system in the US, they deeply appreciate the value of nurturing a young generation who aspire to learn new things and engage in the process of social change in Vietnam. They joined the Fun Run to propel Fulbright’s mission in pursuing the liberal education approach with their valuable donations.

It is the community of the partners who have accompanied and supported Fulbright throughout the years, from Entrepreneurship & Innovation programs, Internships, field trips to scholarships and long-term commitments.

Vietcombank representatives at Fun Run

It is a community of Fulbright faculty and staff, who stay with the University simply because of their passion for education – one which is fueled by generations of talented and empathetic students. Working at Fulbright since the early days, Ms. Hoàng Ngọc Uyên Phương, Wellness Programs Coordinator, recalled:

“When I just entered Fulbright, the residence was still being set up. Together with two other co-workers, we carried a mattress from Hung Phuc apartment to My Khang apartment all by ourselves.  It was so heavy yet we could not and would not put it down. I immediately recognized what the Fulbright spirit was like as our perspiration running down our faces and our hands holding the mattress as tightly as we could. Such spirit enables me to do what I have never done before, starting from the simplest task. I will always remember and be grateful for that inspiring moment, no matter what I do.”

Ms. Hoàng Ngọc Uyên Phương (the third from left to right) with her colleagues

1,000 kilometer of total distance we achieved together at Fun Run

Nearly 300 people participated in the Fun Run, accumulating a total of 1,000-kilometer. Such number transpires the effort of different individuals, families and groups who have been sharing their burning passion for the development of liberal arts education. Matching 1,000 kilometers, Fulbright leadership will contribute USD 3000 (equivalent to 70 million VND) to support students’ research and social projects. 

On the running route, we saw a collective of long-time beloved members of the Fulbright community and beyond. 

We saw Mr. Phương (working at Fulbright’s Makerspace), whom the Fulbright community calls “uncle” because of his 28 years of dedication here. Our dear “uncle” completed the 5-kilometer run “without breaking a sweat” – Tuam Khaab (Khang A Tua, Student of Co-design Year) admired.

We saw the family of  Dr. Trần Vĩnh Linh (Acting Dean of Fulbright’s Undergraduate Studies and Faculty of Mathematic), Ms. Ánh Nguyệt (Legal and Compliance Manager) and Mr. Huy Hà (Senior HR Officer – Talent Acquisition and Development), and many more, joined the run, especially with the participation of their young kids. 

Impressed by the crowd of young children joining the Fun Run, Mr. Nam Mã (VEF fellow, currently working at VNG Corporation) excitedly shared: “Towards a sustainable liberal arts education, Fulbright inspires young kids with fun and meaningful activities which leave a great impression in their memory. Perhaps, 10 years later, they will be the future students at Fulbright.”

Mr. Nam Mã wins the biggest prize in the lucky draw

First runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2010 Ms. Hoàng My arrived early and was a part of the leading runners. Inspired by the vision and program at Fulbright, Hoang My wished she could have had the opportunity to study at the University. She also expressed her support to integrate extracurricular activities and sports in learning experiences so that students will be both mentally and physically healthy.

First runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2010 Ms. Hoàng My at Fun Run

Not only students, but their families also joined the run, accompanying their beloved ones and Fulbright in the pursuit of a liberal education. Alumni and former staff, who still supported the University, also made up a large population of runners. 

Mr. Bình Bồng Bột và Ms. Thái Minh Châu at Fun Run

A group of Fulbright Scholars and VEF Fellows, our current and potential partners from business to media, was also present on that beautiful Saturday morning to contribute “kilometers” to push the educational journey further.

30 artworks on display, out of which 9 were sold at the auction and hundreds of prints purchased

“Beyond their courses in art history, filmmaking, photography, and storytelling, Fulbright University’s students have independently explored modes of making that speak to their personal interests, contemporary anxieties, and innovative ways of thinking. From AI imaginings to fluorescent photographs and dreamlike canvases, the works displayed in this exhibition are as interdisciplinary and cutting edge as the young artists who created them,” Meg Burns, Luce Fellow at Fulbright, curator of the Exhibition wrote in her prelude. 

Our very own artists are involved with two undergraduate student-led organizations: Fulbright Art Lab and Blue Period, which nourish young artistic talents and share the visual arts with the larger community. 

“Amidst the stressful days of Final Exams, we encouraged each other to prepare for the exhibition in 3 weeks. Since it was our first time, we stumbled upon a lot of challenges during the installation process. There was a moment we felt frustrated because the layout did not live up to our expectations. Yet, we did not hesitate to take it apart and try different ways to showcase our work until we were fully satisfied. 

I really appreciated the fact that we did not get mad at each other but we solved the problem altogether,” shared Nguyễn Thị Huế, Student of Class 2024, Blue Period’s member. 

1300 tamarind leaves were raised through the Student-led Giving Fair

Behind the vibrant and diverse Giving Fair, there were untiring efforts of 17 Student Clubs during weeks of preparation, from ideation, booth design, gifts crafting to stakeholders management. 

The diversity of expressions and design specifications painted an inclusive space of students, by students and for students. The space where today’s fundraising efforts contributed “tamarind leaves” to foster ideas for community service in the near future.

The Giving Fair was a proud project of Fulbright Event Hub, Fulbright Consulting Club, Fulbright Theater, Fulbright Art Lab, Fulbright Historical Society, Fulbright Basketball Club, Fulbright STEM Club, Fulbright Business Club, CIDO, Fulbright Philosophy Society, TEDx FUV, LIT Magazine, GDSC, FulPride & Alliance, Fulbright Debate Club, Fulbright Running Club, the Hearty Plant Project and ICPC Project, with enthusiastic support from many other individuals.

7 stories of change with inspiring conversations

Next to the bustling crowds at the Giving Fair, there was a safe space reserved for participants to unfold the stories of Fulbright’s change-makers. Inspired by the famous “Human Library” format initiated in Denmark in 2020, the Fulbright Human Library in this year’s Giving Week was an emphasis on the value of in-kind “gifts” that enrich knowledge and cultivate intrinsic motivation. 

The activity featured 7 “human books” who are distinguished change-makers at Fulbright. It was where Mr. Steve Paris (Director of Student Life) shared his own view on Leadership; Dr. Trương Trung Kiên (Chair of Engineering) talked about “Running with purpose: Keep moving in the right direction at your own pace”; Dr. Vũ Minh Hoàng (Faculty Member in History and Vietnam Studies) told his stories of board games, especially chess; Mr. Vũ Hải Trường ( MPP2022-LM Master’s Student, recipient of Community Change-makers scholarship) shared how to “Become a multipotentialite”; Hoàng Mai Linh (Co-design Year student, recipient of Fulbright Founding Scholarship, Odon Vallet Scholarship) and Nguyễn Thị Thường (Student of Class 2024) shared their experiences at Fulbright; or Đồng Thị Hải Yến (Student of Class 2024, recipient of Wheel Cards Scholarship 2022) inpspired “readers” with her start-up story.

Mr. Vu Hai Truong

Dr. Truong Trung Kien

Dr. Vu Minh Hoang

That cozy and respectful space welcomed conversations among the “readers” and the “human books”, letting efforts, inspiration and positivity transmit from one to another, which connected and led all of them on the path to find a better version of themselves. 

Sharing his words of appreciation to all members and supporters who participated in Fulbright’s Giving Week, Mr. Trần Lê Nam, Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives at Fulbright, affirmed: “The Fulbright’s story is a story of collective efforts to reach the goal that we had never dared to think of. It’s an accumulation of courage, engagement and commitment to build a community under “pay-it-forward” spirit. Those trees, bricks and initiatives as parts of the new campus are the representations of multi-generational solidarity at Fulbright.” 

An Bình

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