2003 Inspirational Young Alumna: Cuc Vu '92
Dedication to helping others
Cuc Vu came to the United States with her family as U.S. troops were evacuating Vietnamese refugees during the Vietnam War. Today, Cuc works for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) to advocate for the legalization of undocumented workers in the United States and to build political power for the immigrant community.
Cuc grew up in Olympia, Washington, and majored in art history and public policy analysis at Pomona College, while also playing varsity soccer for the Sagehens. Since graduating in 1992, she has, among many professional experiences, worked for the U.S. Department of Labor and the National Humanities Alliance, and she spent six years with the AFL-CIO in the Working Women’s Department. In addition to these jobs, Cuc has been involved in her community as a board member and volunteer for Gay Men and Lesbians Opposing Violence, the Conference on Asian Pacific American Leadership, the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance, and the New York City Anti-Violence Project. Through all of these efforts, Cuc has worked to promote the interests of many different groups – women, gays and lesbians, the homeless, the urban poor, artists and humanists, and, now, immigrants.
Currently, Cuc is the director of the national immigration program for SEIU. Founded by four immigrant janitors, SEIU is the largest and fastest-growing union in the country representing more than 1.5 million healthcare, building services, and public sector workers. In this position, she manages a field and media campaign to win legalization of hardworking, taxpaying, undocumented workers and to mobilize the immigrant community into a formidable political force. The campaign has the potential to change the lives of eight million undocumented immigrants and transform the political landscape by increasing the electorate by up to 20 million new immigrant voters. It is for her many critical efforts that Cuc Vu is the Pomona College Inspirational Young Alumni Award winner this year.