Thursday, December 3, 2020

Club Spotlight: African Unity embraces culture

No matter the changes that may come, to educate and to unify the campus community continues to be the primary mission of African Unity (AU).

The club serves as a place for African students to come learn about their culture through building relationships and participating in discussions with each other. Club President Victoria Adebanjo, a Plattsburgh State senior, admits she did not know much about her Nigerian background until she joined AU her freshman year.

“I knew the basics,” Adebanjo said, “from attending parties or seeing the clothes [Nigerians] wear, but through African Unity, I was able to embrace my culture a lot more.”

Adebanjo, a public relations and psychology double major, appreciates the club for showing her there’s a lot more to her background than being American.

“African Unity gave me the opportunity to truly see that I have people around me that I cannot only relate to but can learn from.”

The desire to educate students on Africa extends past African students for the club. Adebanjo and the rest of AU want students of all backgrounds to attend their meetings and learn about the continent as a whole.

“We want to show people that Africa is more than what the media portrays,” Adebanjo said. “We don’t all live in huts. We are a thriving country with beautiful cities and rich resources.”

Adebanjo has another strong focus on bringing in students of other ethnicities to join  African Unity.

“There is a stigma that African Unity is only inclusive to Africans,” Adebanjo said, “but we love everyone. We love learning from other people.” Adebanjo emphasizes the fact that there have been students of different ethnicities and cultures and of various positions on their board.

“It’s a matter of [students] wanting to step out of their comfort zone,” Adebanjo said, “and see us as inclusive and to want to get to know us more.”

Adebanjo, a public relations and psychology double major, appreciates the club for showing her there’s a lot more to her background than being American.

“African Unity gave me the opportunity to truly see that I have people around me that I cannot only relate to but can learn from.”

The desire to educate students on Africa extends past African students for the club. Adebanjo and the rest of AU want students of all backgrounds to attend their meetings and learn about the continent as a whole.

“We want to show people that Africa is more than what the media portrays,” Adebanjo said. “We don’t all live in huts. We are a thriving country with beautiful cities and rich resources.”

Adebanjo has another strong focus on bringing in students of other ethnicities to join African Unity.

“There is a stigma that African Unity is only inclusive to Africans,” Adebanjo said, “but we love everyone. We love learning from other people.” Adebanjo emphasizes the fact that there have been students of different ethnicities and cultures and of various positions on their board.

“It’s a matter of [students] wanting to step out of their comfort zone,” Adebanjo said, “and see us as inclusive and to want to get to know us more.”

Jennifer Kouffer, a PSUC senior and accounting and business administration and management double major, credits African Unity for providing students of other backgrounds with a safe space to come learn more about their African peers in a way they can’t learn in the classroom.

“We really try to emphasize unity in our events and in our name,” Kouffer said, a former president of AU.

Lastly, hosting memorable events is a huge importance to AU and their president.

The first event coming up for the club is their annual ice skating event, a social gathering event created in mind for incoming freshman. The event is scheduled for September 9 at 7 p.m. and will cost $3. There will be food, music and free transportation from the Angell College Center.

The second annual African Student Association (ASA) Conference will be AU’s first major event. Because the club also serves as Plattsburgh State’s African Student Association, they will host this year’s conference taking place on campus in November.

Following the conference will be African Unity’s third annual banquet on November 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Warren Ballrooms.

The banquet, titled “Ubuyne,” which means Unity in Swahili, provides a great platform to educate people about Africa in a fun, storyline way Adebanjo said.

African Unity’s biggest event of the year is their annual pageant. This year’s theme will be Hulet Negasi or, The Royal Two, and through a fashion show, will represent traditional and modern African clothing.

General club meetings are held every Monday at 8 p.m. in the Cardinal Lounge and can be found on Instagram at @africanunitypsu.

 

Email Lexus Gomez at cp@cardinalpointsonline.com

 

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