V-Nation connects SUNY Plattsburgh students, Vietnamese or not, to the many aspects of Vietnamese culture through food, games, pop culture and history.
Each meeting has a specific topic of discussion. In the past, the club has talked about what it was like to be a student in Vietnam many years ago compared to how it is now. They also discuss music and film. They recently screened “Furie,” a Vietnamese martial arts thriller.
Nguyen Nguyen, a junior accounting major and president of the club, said many Americans think of the Vietnam war when they think of Vietnam and one of the goals of the club is to change that narrative.
“The war is long gone. We should teach about it but shouldn’t glorify it,” Nguyen said. “As a Vietnamese I want to glorify my landscape, my nature. We have HaLong Bay one of the seven most beautiful natural landscapes.”
The club also holds a Vietnamese food festival every year in the spring, where they serve three or four Vietnamese dishes.
“There are no Vietnamese restaurants in Plattsburgh. We really want to promote our cuisine,” Nguyen said.
The club is welcoming to anyone interested in learning about Vietnamese culture. Typically, about 30% of attendees are Vietnamese while the rest are not, Nguyen said. They occasionally have meetings in which they teach the basics of Vietnamese language.
“Our weekly meeting is a lot about what is it like to be Vietnamese living in Vietnam,” Nguyen said. “I want to talk about our culture, like what made Vietnamese people so hard working. I grew up in Vietnam, and I have so many things I want to show the world.”
The club will be participating in the Night of Nations Saturday, performing a dance to “Four Palace,”paying homage to the traditional belief of worshipping the four mothers of Earth, sky, forest and water.
“The lyrics of the song talks about the hardships of being a vietnamese woman when your fate lies in your parents and your husbands hands,” Nguyen said.
They recently threw a mid autumn event, celebrating the moon being at its brightest and fullest. They also plan to celebrate the Lunar New Year in mid February.
This event typically has a variety of stations at which students can participate in activities such as cards and traditional games. Lucky money is given out, a Vietnamese tradition in which a small amount of money is given out in a red envelope as a wish of good luck in the lunar new year. Instead of cash, V-Nation gives out gift cards.
V-Nation meets every Tuesday in Feinberg 105 at 7 p.m.
“The goal [of the club] is to introduce the culture, the food, what people do in the country and the history,” Hung Nguyen, senior computer science major, said. “It’s also about fun and connecting people.”