Every year the Hmong Student Association (HSA) celebrates Hmong culture during the month of November (the Multicultural Alliance at Hamline University designates a specific month for organizations to showcase and celebrate their culture). HSA calls this their “Hmong Month.” The organization usually opens their month with an annual talent show, but because of COVID-19, this year is a little different. Reaching their 25th anniversary as an organization, the board members found this year’s Hmong Month especially important to celebrate the culture, as well as to engage with students from different backgrounds.
HSA always looks forward to their talent show and although it may not be the ideal way to host the Hmong Month opener, HSA wanted to find a different and safer alternative to showcase talented individuals. That is why this year’s talent show will be hosted on the HSA YouTube channel: Hamline University Hmong Student Organization.
“We still wanted to incorporate talent somehow into the Hmong Month opener so we made it into a virtual talent show. That way we can still have a talent show but in a safe environment,” said HSA Vice President Yee Thao.
COURTESY OF THE HMONG STUDENT ASSOCIATION
The first-place winner of this year’s talent show will receive a cash prize of $175. Contestants must submit a recent video of their talent before the deadline of Oct. 31. Videos will be uploaded and voting will start on Nov. 6. Voters will have until the end on Nov. 13 to pick a winner. The show invites people of all ages and backgrounds and is not exclusive to Hamline students. The organization wants to ensure that everyone is included and has a chance to share their talent.
“We want everyone to be able to show us their creativity and their artsy side. It’s also fun because we’ll get to see everyone participate from different backgrounds,” said HSA Secretary Manee Xiong.
Like for many other student organizations, adjusting to the pandemic has been difficult. Although planning the show came with ease, interacting and engaging with the rest of the Hamline community has been challenging.
“It’s harder to interact with first-years. I remember last year the upper-classmen would kind of chase us and ask us to come to HSA. Now when you come to campus you don’t see anyone… it’s kind of hard to get to them,” Xiong said.
With their upcoming Hmong Month, they hope that individuals from both Hmong and non-Hmong backgrounds will be able to participate in all of their upcoming events. The org hopes to share their culture with others and, more importantly, learn from people of other cultures as well.
“It’s just a way to show that we have Hmong people on campus or we have people on campus that we may not be aware of. It’s a way to be informed and get the knowledge of all these different orgs on campus,” Thao said.
To find out more about the HSU or to participate in their talent show, they can be found on Facebook at Hamline University Hmong Student Association or on Instagram at hamline_hsa. Students and community members can also reach by emailing email@example.com
Be on the lookout for more updates about their upcoming events. They have an eventful November planned to celebrate their big milestone as an organization.