VSE Student Honoured with Two Prestigous Awards

Very exciting news to share about VSE Student Viet Vu – he has won two very significant awards, very rare for one student to win both! The Dean of Arts Outstanding Student Leadership Award and the UBC Edward J.C. Hossie Student Leadership Award. Congratulations Viet!

The following criteria are considered in determining the award recipient:

  • Depth and impact of the nominee’s contributions to the UBC community
  • Demonstrated leadership in the scope of their involvement
  • Good academic standing
Viet Vu

VSE Student Viet Vu

“I’m very very humbled,” says Viet of the accolades. “To me, these awards aren’t just for me. They are a testament to the community we were able to foster in Economics. I’m very thankful to have been afforded the opportunity to work on VSEUS for the past few years and I’m excited about what they can do going forward.”

Professor Hugh Neary, Associate Director of the VSE, has worked closely with Viet during his studies at UBC. “Viet has a very strong record as an undergraduate of extra-curricular activities,” says Hugh. “He is very much a mover and shaker in student affairs and in organizing groups for social purposes. He devotes tremendous energy to these matters and does so from very strong sources of internal motivation.”

Dr. Neary continues, “Let me mention just two of the many examples of his achievements:

  • When he was in second year Viet organized, on his own initiative and mostly by himself, a conference on poverty at a UBC community outreach office in Canada’s poorest census tract, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. He had three panels each provide a brief talk and then engage in a subsequent  discussion session. The panels included, respectively, a UBC professor and students, a group from City Hall that included housing and poverty staff, and a group of residents from the Downtown Eastside itself. It was remarkable how well the conference worked, with each group interacting in very interesting and positive ways with each other and with the student attendees. I was very impressed with the way it turned out.
  • While still in second year he was elected as President of the ESA, a testament to his hard work for the association since the electorate is almost all third and fourth year students. At that time the Department of Economics was in the process of transforming itself into the Vancouver School of Economics. This provided an opportunity for the ESA to also transform itself into a students’ union, VSEUS (Vancouver School of Economics Undergraduate Society), which brings major advantages to the group in terms of fee collection and of place within the hierarchy of student groups on campus. Viet recognized these possibilities (certainly the faculty did not at the time) and spent 18 difficult months navigating a labyrinth of self-interested and often unconstitutional opposition from other student groups, while bringing the transformation to a successful conclusion. There can be no doubt about his awareness, his tenacity, his capacity for hard work in pursuing projects that he is committed to, and his ability to get things done in an adversarial situation.

When asked why he devotes so much time and effort to volunteer work for the UBC community, Viet explains, “I take an interest in student activities because I want to ensure every students who spend their career at UBC can feel appreciated, involved and have the environment and resources to be the best version of themselves, whether it be to produce research, turning ideas into realities, or build a career.”