May 8, 2024

Ahead of graduation, Vu reflects on impact at Nebraska

Photo by Murengezi Atali Benimana // Ann Vu — a marketing major from La Vista, Nebraska and a student worker in the College of Business — poses for a photo in Howard L. Hawks Hall. 
Courtesy | Murengezi Atali Benimana

Courtesy | Murengezi Atali Benimana
Ann Vu, a marketing major from La Vista, Nebraska, and a student worker in the College of Business, poses for a photo in Howard L. Hawks Hall. 

Editor’s Note — This is part of a student conversation series featured on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Medium page. The series highlights Huskers who are making positive impacts on campus, in their outreach work, and career paths.

Ann Vu, a marketing major from La Vista, Nebraska, has spent her college career diving into campus involvements and dreaming big about her future. As she prepares to graduate this month, Vu is excited about the legacy she’s left at Dear Old Nebraska U and beyond.

Talk about attending DREAMBIG Academy in high school. How did the experience impact you?

Attending DREAMBIG Academy during high school truly transformed my life. The exposure to various business majors led me to declare my major in the College of Business. The program also facilitates networking opportunities, enabling me to dive into campus life right from freshman year. Thanks to these connections, I found my place in organizations like the Vietnamese Student Association and became the President of Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority, Inc. Today, I attribute my journey at UNL directly to the profound impact of DREAMBIG Academy.

You’re a DREAMBIG mentor and an Inclusive Business Leaders mentor. How has the experience allowed you to grow alongside your mentees?

Being a mentor for both DREAMBIG and IBL have been incredibly rewarding. What I cherish the most is the genuine friendships I’ve formed with my mentees and witnessing their growth throughout their college careers. It’s fulfilling to share my wisdom and guidance with them, especially as they navigate their own paths on campus. Just like I did as a freshman, I enjoy helping them get involved and find their place within the university community. Seeing my past mentees pursue ambitious goals and take on leadership roles fills me with pride and motivates me to stay engaged and continue making a difference.

You were named campus’ Sorority Chapter President of the Year. What did it mean to win that? Is there anything you try to do as president of your sorority?

Being named Chapter President of the Year meant the world to me. It validated all the effort and dedication I had poured into my role over the past year. Reflecting back, I remember being inspired by my big, Linneaa Nguyen, who had also won this award during her time as President. Her leadership served as a beacon for me, motivating me to step up and make a difference. Winning the same award felt like a culmination of my journey, especially with Linneaa present, symbolizing the legacy of leadership within our chapter.

As I approach graduation, and conclude my time as an active member of SYZ, I aim to leave a lasting impact and set the chapter up for success in the future. Whether it’s through specific initiatives or fostering a supportive environment for members to connect and bond, I strive to uphold the values of our sorority and ensure its continued growth and excellence.

You’re helping organize a national conference for the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations. Can you speak more to that?

I had the honor of serving as the collective philanthropy project director for the 21st Annual Vietnamese Interacting As One Conference, hosted by the Union of Vietnamese Student Associations of the Midwest at Purdue University this past March. VIA-1 stands as a platform that brings together hundreds of students and young professionals to hone their leadership skills, engage in meaningful discussions and address pressing issues within the Vietnamese-American youth community.

In my capacity as CPP director, I embarked on a journey of personal and professional growth and evolved into a more resilient leader while deepening my dedication to philanthropy. Collaborating with a passionate and creative committee of five, we organized various fundraisers to support our beneficiary, the Rock-Paper-Scissors Children’s Fund, and devised projects to spread awareness about their cause. RPS, a nonprofit organization, provides assistance to underprivileged children and families in Vietnam.

Through our collective efforts, we successfully raised an impressive $11,497.94 for RPS. Reflecting on this experience fills me with gratitude and a profound sense of fulfillment. Being able to witness the impact of our endeavors on the community reinforces my commitment to philanthropy and community engagement. The conference served as a catalyst and ignited an even deeper passion within me to take on larger roles and explore avenues for even greater impact.

Is there anything you hope to accomplish in your lifetime?

My experience with CPP has inspired me to continue dreaming big. One of my aspirations is to establish my own nonprofit organization, driven by the desire to continue making a positive impact on the community. Philanthropy has become an integral part of my life, and I am committed to its ongoing pursuit, seeking opportunities to contribute meaningfully to causes close to my heart.

What or who inspires you?

Acknowledging the role of mentors in my journey throughout college is crucial. I owe my gratitude to individuals like Jada Moore, Jennifer Au, Linneaa Nguyen, and many others who served as influential role models during my formative years as a high school senior and freshman at UNL. Their guidance and support empowered me to take that initial step towards involvement and leadership. It’s through their mentorship that I found the courage to put myself out there, continuously grow, and aspire to make a difference in my community.

What is your advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus?

My biggest piece of advice to other students looking to make an impact on campus is to embrace the prospect of failure without fear. Taking that initial step to get involved is crucial, even if it entails the risk of stumbling along the way. Every setback serves as a valuable lesson that shapes our growth and resilience. I firmly believe that it’s far more fulfilling to try and learn from the experience than to dwell on regrets and wonder “what if?”