Association of Black Students hopes to unite campus

Published in the March 8, 2017 issue of The Bells

With over 60 current members in the Association of Black Students, this growing club continues to work toward one goal: to form unique and genuine relationships between all students, regardless of their ethnic background and to spread awareness of black culture throughout campus.
“The Association of Black Students is a club that strives to bring the university’s diverse population as one, while also making it understandable to students what it means to be a black student on a college campus,” ABS event coordinator Nicole Ikefuna said. “It also provides an avenue for black students to interact with other races.”
Ikefuna said that anyone can get involved in ABS by coming to one of the group’s meetings, paying dues, and being involved with the different events they host on campus.

“There is so much to gain from becoming a member of ABS,” she said. “People can gain knowledge as to how to deal with others and be a part of a community and a family. And most of all, they can gain experiences that will help mold them into who they will become.”
The coordinator said she has personally gained an understanding and love for others by being a part of the group.
“I love getting to meet people from different backgrounds, and those who have been in similar situations,” she said. “I have been able to appreciate where we all come from and appreciate that we all have different views.”
ABS is more than just a club, it’s a way for members to experience different cultures and gain experiences they might not have otherwise.
“We put on many events throughout the semester,” Ikefuna said. “For example, with February being Black History Month, we had a keynote speaker, CJ Wilson, come and speak to us. He talked about what it means to be black and Christian. We also have many different get-together events, which are like little mixers, where all members can meet and get to know each other.”

The club even has a buddy system in place, where members can find someone in the club with similar goals or someone they feel comfortable expressing their goals to.
And through this partnership, they are able to hold each other accountable and make sure they are making steps toward achieving their goals.
“We also have outings where we go out and do things together,” she said. “For example, a couple semesters ago we went to a STEP show and this past semester we went to the Southwestern Leadership Conference, which was a really cool experience.”
The group is now working on their next big event, which will be a fashion show. This event will not only provide the opportunity for members to show off the beauty of their culture, but it also helps bring other groups together as one.

“The fashion show is basically a way for us to celebrate the culture, as it will be ethnically based,” Ikefuna said. “It’s just a fun little way for everyone to be able to identify with us, even if they don’t look like us.”
While Ikefuna has gained a lot through her experience of being a part of ABS, there are a few things that stick out to her in particular.
“My favorite part of being involved in ABS is the community,” she said. “You really feel like you have someone who understands where you are coming from. It helps to know that you are not alone on campus.”
For students looking to get involved in ABS, Ikefuna said meetings vary, but that they are usually once a month in York 118.

Author: Geri Wissink

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