The biggest part of Fulbright’s community is undergraduate students, the generation of dynamic, progressive, and empathetic young people who wholeheartedly pursue what they believe in and have passion for. The vibrant and diverse colors of more than 21 booths from 16 Fulbright Student Clubs have made Fulbright Giving Week 2022 all the more unique and remarkable.
Attracting more than 300 attendees, the Giving Fair, initiated and organized by students, successfully raised 1,300 “tamarind leaves” with each leaf equivalent from VND 10,000 to VND 50,000 (approx. US$2). This fund will support student social projects.
21 Booths: collection of distinctive pieces
One of the most exciting activities at the Giving Fair is a trilogy of Wheels of Fortune, Tarot Reading, and Bingo (Lô Tô), held by Fulbright Event Hub with the support from Fulbright Student Engagement staff.
“We call it ‘Event Hub’ because we wanted it to be a space where everyone can be their own childish selves, freely play like when we were kids and we can grow up together,” shared Lê Thảo Tường Vy, President of Fulbright Event Hub.
The recreational format was also chosen by other clubs with various types of challenges, such as Google Developer Student Club with programming games, FulPride & Alliance with quizzes on LGBTQ+ topics, Fulbright Basketball Club with a mini playground, Fulbright Philosophy Society with board games, while TEDx FUV and Running Club presented interactive activities and fun trivias.
With a more academic theme, Fulbright STEM Club, Fulbright Consulting Club, and Fulbright Historical Society took this opportunity to introduce their recent activities. The participants were invited to listen to The Keen Podcast, experience business case solving, and explore the new research projects, all of which were engaging activities to expand the clubs’ popularity.
Staying true to the “giving fair” concept, many clubs were selling items related to their clubs’ activities or handmade products. There were books at LIT Magazine’s booth besides poetry reading activity; artworks from the Fulbright Art Lab along with art exhibitions; or “pre-ordered” products specially crafted by talents from Fulbright CIDO. And Fulbright Business Club, with their entrepreneurial mindset, could not miss this opportunity to sell ready-to-eat foods and souvenirs, which no one would refuse to buy.
Taking advantage of costumes and decoration, Fulbright Theater offered Polaroid photography with one-of-a-kind accessories and backdrop. Meanwhile, the Fulbright Debate Club invited participants to contribute in two ways: cash or hair to the Vietnam Breast Cancer Network. With the pure expectation is to create engaging activities and bring laughters to the Fair, Nguyễn Đỗ Nguyễn (President of Fulbright Theater) shared that the donation were the unexpected response which made the club members over the moon.
“At first, our photography service was completely for free because we were afraid that no one would be willing to pay just to dress up and take pictures. But surprisingly, people loved it, some even came back 4 times. We are very happy because the donation shows that our passion for theater has spread to many people!”.
Besides the Clubs, two student projects also joined the Fair, namely Hearty Plant Project (project to develop urban gardening model) and ICPC Project (programming project). They introduced their projects to the wider student community with presentations and hands-on experiences.
Fulbright Student Clubs – where passions are ignited and nurtured
University life at Fulbright presents opportunities for students to participate and thrive in a dynamic, welcoming environment, where they can make discoveries and find their own voices. As a division of the Office of Student Life, Student Engagement aims to promote students’ campus-wide involvement in learning opportunities, programs, and events outside the classroom.
With guidance from staff and faculty advisors, students can come together to fully explore, develop and pursue lifelong passions, actively planning and participating in projects close to their heart.
The passion for theater has always been in Đỗ Nguyễn’s heart, yet it was not until he entered Fulbright where Nguyễn has truly lived with the desire to cultivate this art in the community. “For me, Fulbright Theater is a passion, a dream, and a voice for arts. Being a part of the club, I can perform on stage or stay behind it to prepare for magnificent performances – it is freeing to me.”
Another art club that is newly established at Fulbright is Blue Period, the club that collaborated with Fulbright Art Lab to organize the Exhibition in Giving Week 2022. Not just a space for art practitioners, Blue Period’s vision is greater than that, “In Blue Period, this is what we really want to focus on: to help students to have hands-on experience with painting specifically, while also having an environment that is inclusive for all, not just the art majors,” shared Phạm Bá Hoan, a Blue Period member.
Beyond the financial and professional support from Fulbright faculty and staff, there is the inner strength of the student community itself. The financial resources to promote students’ initiatives partly come from community funding activities, which solidifies and sustains the community. That is the spirit that Fulbright recognizes behind the impressive numbers which the students have achieved during the Giving Week 2022.
One of the most precious gifts that Fulbright has received is the collective support fostered by the multi-generational students. Fulbright students, both current ones and those who have long graduated, have been supporting the School’s development through their active participation in the university’ activities and fundraising efforts. For those master degree holders, it is a lifelong commitment with Fulbright to nurture liberal education focused on empathy and community-mindedness, as well as to inspire and empower the next generation of change-makers.
The class gifts that fuel liberal education
The current students and alumni from Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM) have made a significant contribution to the Giving Week’s Fund. It is the solidarity and sustainability of a community with diverse backgrounds and interests cultivated over the past two decades. Graduated years ago, members of Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP), the former institution of FSPPM, have gone a long way in their own pursuits, yet still sustained their tight knit relationships with each other and with Fulbright.
Generations of the Master Program gathered at the Opening Day of Giving Week, participated in the Fulbright Fun Run, Giving Fair, and other exciting activities. There was an invisible urge pervading the FETP/FSPPM alumni community, which ignited a lot of ardent discussions in response to the donation.
“Immersed in the excitement of Giving Week 2022, the FETP 13 (2007) classmates got together to discuss how many trees and bricks to donate. We would like to thank the Organizing team for inspiring us with meaningful activities on the Opening Day of Giving Week,” proudly shared Ms. Lê Thị Quỳnh Trâm, an alumna of Class of FETP 13. In addition to nearly VND40 million (approx. US$1,700) donated for the Student Development Fund, they also contributed one “tamarind tree” and three “bricks” to support the construction of the cutting-edge and environmentally friendly flagship campus in Saigon Hi-tech Park, which will soon welcome master and undergraduate students to liberal arts education.
“Following the suggestion of Ms. Trâm and Ms. Yến (FETP 13), I circulated the donation announcement in the Fulbright School Alumni (FSA) community and also posted on FETP 13’s private Facebook group. The FETP 13 classmates discussed the goal number of donations and together made contributions. At the end of the campaign, the number exceeded our expectation, not to mention the individual contributions were directly sent to the School,” Mr. Lê Trung Nam, Director of Fulbright School Alumni. It has created a momentum for other classes’ donations, following FETP 13, FETP 11 (2005) contributed two “bricks”, MPP7 (2014) donated one “brick” while MPP4 (2011) gave one “tamarind tree” and one “sapling”.
Thus far, FSPPM’s alumni and current student community has contributed nearly VND150 million (approx. US$6,500) to support campus construction and social projects of Fulbright’s students.
Fulbright School Alumni: the constellation of actors
Managing the network of Fulbright alumni over the years, Mr. Lê Trung Nam believes that the transparency and integrity inspired by lecturers and the learning environment have glued the different personalities together. Besides, since 2015, the efforts of active members from FSPPM, such as Mr. Quý Tâm (Chief Interpreter and Alumni Relations Manager) and other alumni, in organizing connecting activities, 20th and 25th anniversary of the FSPPM’s establishment, field trips and regular conversations (FSA Talks, seminars), which help strengthen the solidarity of this community.
As fellows, the alumni always behave in a respectful and friendly manner regardless of their social status and backgrounds. Thanks to such cohesion, alumni and current students are always supported by their fellows in every walk of their lives. This is an essential vision of liberal education at Fulbright: train individuals to not only excel skills and harness enthusiasm, but also nurture empathy to support each other and create collective efforts towards the development of Vietnam and the world.
“I really believe in the power of education to change the world. It motivates me to contribute to the development of Fulbright through FSA’s activities. The alumni community has always desired to further support the School’s development, starting with the establishment of an Endowment Fund. Having Fulbright’s direct funding channel [like Giving Week] makes the donation even more convenient,” Mr. Lê Trung Nam shared about FSA’s plan with excitement.
The only requirement when Fulbright grants students and masters students financial aid or scholarships is a commitment to serve the community and pass on the legacy to future generations. Thus, their knowledge, skills and networks they acquire at Fulbright can contribute towards development progress for a better Vietnam and the world. The donation of FETP/FSPPM individuals and classes is a statement of that belief and commitment. Receiving love, efforts, both in-kind and cash donations, Fulbright is proud of the growing community of alumni and current students, which empowers Fulbright in making liberal arts education more accessible and nurturing the academic passion inside the young generation.
About Giving Week 2022
Giving Week is an initiative at Fulbright to bring our community closer, to appreciate each other’s passion and dedication for education, as well as to create a tradition of unity.
Fulbright Giving Week 2022 wishes to Empower Changemakers through many exciting events, to name a few: Giving Fair; Human Library; Art Exhibition, Music Show.
Each VND500,000 (approx. US$22) is equivalent to a sapling, VND10 million (approx. US$440) is presented by a brick and 20 million (approx. USD 870) can grow a tamarind tree. Those are essential donations to construct our District 9 Campus.
To make a contribution, kindly fill in this form.
About Fulbright School Alumni
Since 1995, more than 1,500 students from all over Vietnam have graduated from the Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management (FSPPM), formerly known as the Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP). Our alumni are making an impact in a diverse range of roles within the government, the broader public sector, the not-for-profit sector, and private organizations in 60 of the total 63 provinces nationwide.
The Fulbright School Alumni (FSA) network is hugely diverse and provides a valuable lifelong network of fellow graduates and public policy professionals in Vietnam. FSPPM alumni stay connected to the School and have a significant impact on our academic development and operation. Academically, they support the School teaching efforts with different capacities, be it guest lecturers, tutors or teaching fellows, or student mentors. As for research and outreach, FSA members work closely with faculty as analysts and collaborators, bringing in local understandings valuable to research questions.
07/05/2022 – A beautiful Saturday that marked the beginning of Fulbright’s Giving Week 2022 with the Fun Run event.
After a year without out-door activities, Fun Run is a special occasion for the Fulbright community and allies to get together, join the run, enjoy fun activities, attend the exhibition and exchange their stories of changes.
Beyond the organizers’ expectation, Fulbright Fun Run 2022 welcomed the participation and generous support from those who are not only within the Fulbright community, but also from broader society. It gave us such courage and confidence to pursue our mission further, as our President Đàm Bích Thủy affirmed in her speech at the event “I wish this event will become an annual tradition for Fulbright to join hands with other communities to build an educational environment that nurtures a generation of change-makers to contribute towards the development of Vietnam, people of Vietnam and the world beyond our nation.”
Let numbers and pictures help Fulbright speak about the event:
More than 600 participants
256 people joining the run or walk
Nearly 1,000 kilometers achieved
30 art pieces, out of which 9 pieces sold at the auction and many prints and postcards purchased
7 stories exchanged at the “Human Library”
15 students’ initiatives at the “Giving Fair”
A good start promises more exciting activities with immense support from society during the rest of Giving Week 2022!
Giving Week is an initiative at Fulbright to bring our community closer, to appreciate each other’s passion and dedication for education, as well as to create a tradition of unity. Throughout the week, Fulbright community members join hands to contribute in various ways, from non-material forms, such as volunteering, writing a note of gratitude to one another, exchanging encouragement and support via all forms – hugs, handshakes, fist bumps – and spreading positivity all around campus to donating to Students’ Development Fund or Campus Construction.
As per tradition, this year’s Giving Week will span from May 5 to 15. Fulbright Giving Week 2022 wishes to Empower Change-makers through many exciting events, to name a few: Giving Fair which displays different student-led community activities, varying from different fields; Human Library where students share their experience centered around making positive changes; Art Exhibition which features our students’ creativity; Music Show by our very own Fulbright home-grown talents.
Initiated for the first time last year, Giving Week has become a tradition at Fulbright to bring our community closer, to appreciate each other’s passion and dedication for education, as well as to create a tradition of unity.
Throughout the week, Fulbright community members join hands to contribute in various ways, from non-material forms, such as volunteering, writing a note of gratitude to one another, exchanging encouragement and support via all forms – hugs, handshakes, fist bumps – and spreading positivity all around campus to donating to Students’ Development Fund or Campus Construction.
As per tradition, this year’s Giving Week will span from May 5 to 15. Fulbright Giving Week 2022 wishes to Empower Change-makers through many exciting events, to name a few: Giving Fair which displays different student-led community activities, varying from different fields; Human Library where students share their experience centered around making positive changes; Art Exhibition which features our students’ creativity; Mini-Concert by our very own Fulbright home-grown talents.
Fulbright Fun Run also welcomes all FULBRIGHT ALUMNI, STUDENTS’ PARENTS, FAMILY and FRIENDS OF STAFF/FACULTY. Please help us extend our warmest invitation to them.
👉 Fulbright Fun Run registration here: https://bit.ly/FubrightFunRun_Registration
It was the mid-90s.
After many external affairs efforts, Fulbright Economics Teaching Program (FETP) was finally able to secure a teaching facility inside the Institute of Economics Research Ho Chi Minh City, in an alley on Vo Thi Sau Street, District 3. A small old building block was renovated to become FETP’s first campus.
The campus was modest with a few lecture halls, modeled after Harvard University’s lecture halls, which had big, beautiful, double-glazed windows overlooking a small communal courtyard. Wanting to liven up the campus, the staff decided to adorn it with a tree.
Mr. Vu Trong Cao, FETP’s chauffeur, took responsibility for that task. He went and picked a small tamarind tree to plant in the middle of the courtyard. Rooting the tree into the ground, little did the staff envisage FETP to be an ever-growing project in opposed to the ordinary lifecycle of all other projects. The tamarind tree grew, rose to provide a pleasant leafy shade for the campus, overwatched countless outdoor activities of FETP students. Over two decades have flown by, yet there still stands the tamarind tree, the greenery background for FETP’s graduation and opening ceremonies, year after year.
Started as a friendly bilateral project for cultural and educational exchanges between Vietnam and the United States in the early days of normalization, FETP turned out to be the first grounding block for Fulbright University Vietnam. Mr. Vu Trong Cao has now become one of the most senior members of Fulbright, remaining faithful to his job since the early days working on this project.
This past May, Mr. Cao was one of the most avid employees to commence the Giving Week – One Week One Fulbright initiative by making a six-month pledge for a brick gifted towards Campus Building.
“I’ve been working with Fulbright for almost 27 years now. When I first joined, I was in my 30s. Fulbright always feels like home. Everyone is like a family – faculty, staff, students, and the board are very close together. Although a brick is not of great value, it is my heart, belief, and hope for the future development of the school.” – Mr. Cao professed.
Giving Week at Fulbright is an initiative to bring the Fulbright community closer together, to appreciate each other’s passion and dedication for education, as well as to create a tradition of unity. Throughout the week, Fulbright community members joined hands to contribute in various ways, from gifting a brick or a tree, to making other material contributions to Campus Building and Students Fund for Research and Community Service.
Giving was also expressed creatively in other non-material forms, such as writing a grateful note to the “silent knights” like the tea ladies, the administrative staff, finance team, and facility people, etc. without whose commitment Fulbright would be a train without wheels. There were also appreciation notes connecting professors, faculty, and staff, giving one another a pat on the back for all their hard work. Sincerities and encouragements came in all forms – hugs, handshakes, fist bumps – spreading positivity all around campus.
“Thank you, Hoa, for inspiring us with stories from the FETP days”, “I love seeing Hoa working diligently at his desk every morning I come in”, and “Thank you, anh Hoa, for your supportive instructions whenever we need resources from the library” – these were posted on One Week One Fulbright Appreciation Wall to the school’s librarian of 14 years, Mr. Truong Minh Hoa.
There also written: “Finance team always comes in early and stays late, working diligently every day in the office. Their indefatigability plays a great part in keeping our boat afloat, marching forward.”
The Appreciation Wall were embellished with gratified thanks: “Thank you, chi Danh – our lovely tea lady, for always comes in first at 6 am every day in the past two and a half decades”, “Thank you for taking care of us and gracing our office with cute little plants.”
“I believe in Fulbright”
It was the Labor Holiday right before Giving Week when student volunteers came to help decorate the campus. These students spent all day drawing and handmaking donation boxes.
“I was so moved by their pure willingness to contribute. I remember one student drawing and sweating a lot since the AC was turned off during Holiday. She did not utter one single complaint, just meticulously drew our tamarind tree while wiping sweat nonchalantly. I think at the end of the day, it is the students who inspire us tremendously,” shared by Ms. Nguyen Ha Giang, Development Associate, who was in the team initiating Giving Week.
Even though she absolutely believed in the importance of creating a tradition of giving and in the causes that donation was raised for, Ha Giang was still amazed by the overwhelming support and enthusiasm from everyone. Emphasizing that this Giving Week was created to celebrate the Fulbright spirit and to highlight the unity amongst community members, which are crucial to a young institution like Fulbright University Vietnam, Ha Giang trusts that One Week One Fulbright will cultivate a culture of appreciation and giving.
“People wrote to us saying they were very moved by their coworkers’ stories on Appreciation Wall. About 500 million VND were raised with messages like “for the future of education in Vietnam”, “I believe in Fulbright”, etc. There were students who donated their monthly budget for milk tea and the last cash bills they have at hand. I am particularly proud of Fulbright students. If they are ready to give at such a young age, I have no doubt that once they fly out there in the big world, they will always look back and “give forward” to Fulbright and its future generations.”
Nguyen Nhu Phuong Anh (Fulbright Undergraduate student, Class of 2023) was just chatting with a close friend studying abroad in America when the topic of Fulbright’s inspiring stories came up. The conversation ignited such heartfelt empathy that the two friends decided to donate together. Having never set foot in Fulbright, being halfway across the globe, Phuong Anh’s friend still doled out a large amount of her extra income to support the school’s mission.
“Fulbright is making a difference to Vietnamese students’ lives by giving them unique liberal education, making a difference to the society by creating future generations of changemakers. Thus, I’m giving to Fulbright, to make a difference,” Phuong Anh explicated.
Actively participating in Giving Week, Hoang Mai Linh (Class of 2023) revealed that she did not hesitate when she decided to #GivetoFulbright. Mai Linh reasoned: “As a student who received financial aid from the school, I am deeply grateful to be studying in such a nurturing environment. Although the amount donated is not much, I still want to show my responsibility to the community that is fostering my growth. This is also a promise to myself that I would come back and contribute more to Fulbright as an alumnus in the future, supporting Fulbright’s vision of reimagining higher education.”
The various and creative giving forms are all a part of the effort to build an institutional culture, as Ms. Dam Bich Thuy, Founding President of Fulbright University Vietnam, has delineated.
“Just little more than 5 years ago, Fulbright University was still a concept. We, in the beginning, were still wondered about the possibility of realizing such a bold dream. It has been amazing to see the university grow from an idea to an institution buzzing with students from our undergraduate and graduate programs. That idea would not have been realized without the enthusiasm, commitment, and dedication of everyone in the organization. As part of the efforts to bring together students, faculty, and staff, Giving Week was launched to demonstrate the cultural values of Fulbright, of unity and giving.”
About education and the future ahead
One of the main goals of Giving Week was to donate for Campus Building and Students’ Fund for Research and Community Service. In fact, Fulbright University Vietnam is fundraising to build the flagship campus in Saigon High Tech Park in District 9, in a 15-hectare land granted by the Ho Chi Minh City’s People Committee. That is why there were “bricks” and “trees” donated throughout the Giving Week in hopes that one day, when the campus is officially done, the donors can be proud of their entrusted contribution to this scholarly legacy.
Therefore, the culture of giving, of inspirational values will not be confined within the Fulbright community or within the Giving Week. As a not-for-profit institution, Fulbright shares its grand mission with the society, which exists because of the trust of the Vietnamese people to build a world-class university for Vietnamese students. That does not just belong to the Fulbright community, but also to the people.
Mr. Tran Le Nam was a Management Specialist at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the company that Fulbright University Vietnam has consulted in developing strategic plans in the early days. At the end of the consulting project, Mr. Nam decided to leave BCG to join Fulbright as the Director of Development and Strategic Initiatives. Having studied abroad in the United States thanks to a scholarship from Vietnam’s Ministry of Education, Mr. Nam understands the value of a quality higher education. His passion to create positive impacts has led him to pursue various projects in education, employment development, and creative, sustainable development. In designing and spearheading the Giving Week at Fulbright, Mr. Nam hopes to amplify the giving culture, the pay-it-forward culture.
“After all, education is not the responsibility of the Government alone. Everyone in society can act on the educational values that they pursue. For me, I hope my son could have an opportunity that I did not have – to choose between a great institution in the world and staying in his own country. Henceforth, giving to Fulbright is another way society can entrust their educational values to Fulbright’s vision.” – Mr. Tran Le Nam shared.
During Giving Week, many graduate students at Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management donated with hopes that their children can go to Fulbright in the future. Ms. Nguyen Quynh Anh (Class of LM 22) asserted that giving to education is the best investment, for which “every penny of your investment would have an annuity return in a young generation who dares to think, keen to act, and eager to contribute for a better life.”
Mr. Chu Duc Manh, an alumnus of MPP 2019 believes that the core values at Fulbright are the foundation to create a ripple effect in society.
“Fulbright’s greatest value lies in its integrity. More generations of Fulbrighters are needed to help make Vietnamese society more open-minded. That is why I give to Fulbright.”
After almost three decades of working at Fulbright, Mr. Vu Trong Cao looks forward to seeing the school move to its permanent home. The day Fulbright left the Vo Thi Sau teaching facility, many people like Mr. Cao wanted to uproot the tamarind tree from that courtyard to replant it in the flagship campus in District 9. The tamarind tree has now become the historical symbol of Fulbright, representing an institution that continues to carry the grand mission of creating positive changes for Vietnam, and building a heritage of humanity and knowledge.
Fulbright University Vietnam’s official home will have aisles of bigger tamarind trees, with buildings filled with the entrusted bricks from not only the Fulbright community but also the entire social community. It is where anyone in society can join hands to create any educational values that they believe in, and be proud of.