Newly Formed African Student Association to Support Students

The African Student Association (ASA) was recently formed in the Spring of 2017 with the goal of creating a new space for students to grow, learn and be supported outside of the classroom. Previously, it had been many years that an equivalent organization was active on campus. Martha-Marie Bervell 18’ and Regina Baffoe 18’ are the student leaders for the African Student Association. Amy Anderson, Associate Provost for Global and Intercultural Affairs and Executive Director for the Center for International Programs and Dr. Dorothy Mensah-Aggrey, Administrative Specialist for Curriculum Design and Adult Catechesis for the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives provide guidance as the advisors for the student-led organization.

“We established the African Student Association to create a sense of unity and inclusivity amongst students from all ethnic backgrounds, specifically African students, and to introduce cultural aspects of the different regions in Africa,” Regina Baffoe expresses. “It is a way for students to feel like they have a family on campus, and to have the opportunity to develop connections with people of similar cultures.” Additionally, ASA serves as a resource for students to learn about events, tutoring sessions, service opportunities, and scholarships that are offered through different organizations on campus.

“We would like to have a larger presence on campus, create special housing for the future generations of members, and to see the group grow and become something big,” responded Martha and Regina when they were asked what they envision for their organization in the future.

The African Student Association holds a variety of events that students can attend once a month. “The signature event of ASA introduces African dances that are specific to different countries and regions of Africa. Our dance class typically take place more often than our special events”, shares Martha. The special events range from organizing a bake sale that allows students to buy authentic Nigerian pastries, partnering with campus organizations to coordinate a fashion show that displays how Black culture and its fashion has changed over the decades, and many more exciting events that are in the planning stages.

Students are also encouraged to attend the monthly meetings to learn more about the diversity across African cultures. Each discussion-based meeting shares a new African country with topics related to its current events, dances specific to that culture, and learning how to say ‘hi, my name is ____’ in that respective language. Regina and Martha emphasize the importance of utilizing music as a channel to explore those countries, and to develop a strong fellowship amongst students.

International and U.S. students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to join the African Student Association. Please visit ASA on OrgSync or their Facebook page, or contact asa.udayton@gmail.com to learn more or to join.

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