Student moves full speed ahead at SDSU

Ann Kopecky

Ann Kopecky

Vannapha Thammavong sits down to watch her favorite shows on Friday afternoons after class.

During the week she’s so busy she resorts to taping her beloved shows, CSI, True Calling and Orange County, and then saving them up until the weekend.

In high school, Thammavong was active in extracurricular activities. Most nights she never was home before 7 or 8 p.m.

At South Dakota State University, Thammavong has continued to get involved in various organizations.

“I love to be involved. I love to know what’s going on,” Thammavong said. “I want to have my foot in the door.”

One event that Thammavong had her foot or hand in making a success was the SDSU Wacipi. The Wacipi or powwow was held Saturday at Frost Arena.

Thammavong, a junior advertising and consumer affairs double major, is the president of the Native American Club. She was responsible for overseeing the whole operation and giving speeches during the event.

“For Native American Club this kind of gathering is not just for dancing. It’s about coming and seeing people you know,” Thammavong said. “It’s a great recruitment to experience SDSU if you haven’t been through 2+2+2 or the success academy.”

The 2+2+2 program is what brought Thammavong to SDSU. Originally from Portland, Ore., the 2001 Tiospa Zina graduate planned to attend Portland State University but financial aid fell through. The same week a scholarship came from SDSU and Thammavong knew she was coming to Brookings.

“I was a little disappointed at first but now I love it here,” Thammavong said.

Thammavong, who is half Laotian and half American Indian, visited the SDSU campus several times during her high school years. She attended the 2+2+2 program in the summer where she received a hands-on application for the different majors offered at SDSU.

“It wasn’t the typical sit-down tour of campus,” Thammavong said. “You knew you’re way around campus by the time you left.”

Today Thammavong remains active in the program, helping coordinate the program in June and setting up recruitment for tribal schools.

The program is designed to give tribal students a three-step program for going to college, 2 years of high school, 2 years at a tribal college and 2 years at SDSU.

Besides the Native American Club and the 2+2+2 program, Thammavong is involved in Native American Journalism Association, Alpha Zi Delta and the Minority Peer Mentor Program.

She is also an orientation leader and is currently running for Student Association Senate from the College of Family and Consumer Science.

Thammavong said she decided to run for Senate because as an orientation leader she has seen what students in her college need.

In her spare hours of time, Thammavong enjoys scrapbooking, getting her nails done and watching her favorite shows.

But time is spare for Thammavong.

She said she plans to continue staying active at SDSU.

“I want to get the most bang for my buck. This is college,” Thammavong said. “I want to know when I’m done I’ve experienced college.”