VSA hosts Eggrollfest to raise awareness for human trafficking

VSA members cook eggrolls during the biannual Eggroll fest on March 29, 2017.

The USM Vietnamese Student Association hosted its biannual Eggrollfest Tuesday, March 29 at the Baptist Student Union.

The group made pork and vegetable egg rolls for the benefit of the Catalyst Foundation. The event raised money and awareness for the foundation, which aims to stop human trafficking abroad and bring Vietnamese communities together.  

Each year, The Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA), a non-profit, community-based organization, chooses a philanthropy project and allows all VSAs to compete in raising funds toward a common charitable goal.

“It’s part of a bigger picture,” said VSA fundraiser chair Alexandra Garrett.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., members of the VSA prepared and sold homemade pork and veggie eggrolls to students, faculty and staff and made sure to educate their patrons about the humanitarian Catalyst Foundation and its fight against human trafficking. The organization offered pre-sale purchases, day-of purchases and bulk frozen eggrolls.

“We are exposing students here at USM to the troubles abroad, but also to our club to help us grow,” Garrett said. “This club is really good at bringing people together, even if you’re someone not from Vietnam. It just brings everyone in and we’re all really close with one another. It’s really helpful for freshman who come to college not knowing anyone. I didn’t know anyone coming into college, so I joined and I feel very welcomed here.”

Members prepared roughly 2,000 eggrolls with pre-orders reaching more than900. The rolls were made from scratch with some ingredients coming from a local Asian market.

“There’s a lot that went into this,” Garrett said. “The biggest challenge is when we’re cooking and everyone’s like, ‘I need this now, I need this now.’ Everything was good. We’ve been getting everything out as fast as we can. We had some setbacks, but we were able to get through them. “

Each semester, the VSA dedicate hundreds of dollars to their philanthropy, each year selecting a different one.

“We’ve done this for the past couple of years,” said VSA vice president Alexis Le. “I hope we can just keep making more and more because we’re doing this for nonprofit. Come support us in the fall semester.”

VSA raised more than $800, according to Selena Nguyen, president of VSA.

“We’re going to donate $100 to the BSU to support their mission trip and to show them our appreciation for letting us using their facility,” Nguyen said. “We’re going to donate about $700 for our collective philanthropy project, the Catalyst Foundation.”