By Sadie Slager
Bamboo dragonflies and non la were among the most popular authentic items sold Sept. 24 through 28 as a part of Vietnamese Culture Week.
The Vietnamese Student Association sponsored a sale of items they brought back from Vietnam to raise money for their organization and for Agent Orange victims.
Freshman Hoang Tran, vice president of the Vietnamese Student Association, said the group sold traditional Vietnamese dresses, artwork, bracelet, bamboo dragonflies, traditional straw hats called non la and figurines of Vietnamese transportation called xich lo.
Tran, an international student from Vietnam, described a xich lo as a bicycle with a seat attached to the front.
He said xich los used to be a very popular form of transportation in Vietnamese cities.
“Most people use cars now, but they still have xich los,” he said. “They are mostly used for tourists.”
Tran said he and other students from Vietnam acquired the items over the summer from traditional Vietnamese villages and brought them back to OWU.
It was the Association’s first sale of this kind, but Tran said they hope to do it again next year.
“We want to see the results from this year’s sale to decide if we will do the same thing again next year,” he said.
After the sale members of the Association modeled traditional Vietnamese dresses at OWU’s International Fashion Show on Sept. 29.
The Association also plans to hold a Vietnamese food festival in October, which will have traditional Vietnamese dishes for other OWU students to purchase and taste for themselves.
Tran said the Association consists of about 30 students, five of whom are not Vietnamese. One of these students is freshman Natalie Wood.
Wood said she is friends with Vietnamese students and this inspired her to join the student group.
“I love Asian culture anyways, so I wanted to get involved with the club,” she said.
Wood said she helped with Smith’s pizza delivery service to raise money for the Association.
Tran said the Vietnamese Student Association has trouble getting enough funding from WCSA, so they must earn money for their endeavors in different ways, such as pizza delivery.
“Most of the money we raise is for Agent Orange victims,” he said. “We hold Agent Orange Awareness Week in the spring as well.”
Tran said the Association raised over $300 last year for Agent Orange victims.
Freshman Khanh Le said he got involved with the Vietnamese Student Association through other Vietnamese students he met when he came to OWU in the fall.
He said he has noticed there are a lot of Vietnamese students at OWU and attributes this to OWU’s good reputation in Vietnam.
He said his sister attended OWU about seven years ago, but he knows many other people who learned about OWU at university fairs in Vietnam.
Tran said some Vietnamese students study abroad in the United States with a program called “VietAbroader” and learn about OWU through that experience.
He also said that OWU always has a representative at college fairs.
“Many high school students went to fairs and heard about OWU that way,” he said.
“Then they called OWU contacts for more information about the school and realized it had a good reputation.”