By Alisha Harris, The Black Bear – The African Student Association is not uncommon to college campuses in the United States. From Stanford to John Hopkins to Harvard, college students have been increasing the awareness of African culture since the early 1980s.
The African Student Association existed on the Missouri State University campus five years ago, but ended due to internal issues. After a new constitution was written for the ASA in the spring of 2014, it was approved as a new student organization in the fall 2014 semester.
Adekemi Omoloja, sophomore cell and molecular biology major, was encouraged by her pastor, Theresa Odun-Ayo (now advisor of the organization), to help bring the organization back to Missouri State University.
Omoloja actively searched for a school to attend that had an African student organization she could join. Now, she is the current president of the Missouri State chapter.
“This organization is a continued reminder, because we have regular meetings that give you that one-on-one discussion, that is more an a personal level,” said Omoloja.
The ASA constitution states that the organization supports the network of African students at MSU. The organization’s main goal is to create awareness of the African culture, promote a better perception of the continent, and organize forum discussions and programs that motivate and enhance pride in African students.
“I joined the organization because I have a liking for other cultures and I saw that this organization as just beginning,” said senior biology major Churena White. “I like to be a part of an organization that is in the ground work stage. I am also very fascinated with the African culture and I saw this as a great way to step up and help this organization flourish,” continued White.
ASA is not the only student organization that promotes diversity and wants to increase the awareness of other cultures. But White said there are a few things that set ASA apart from other diverse organizations and programs.
“Within this organization, you learn hands on experience by interacting with African students and not just listening to a lecture,” said White.
The members said they hope for the best in the future of ASA. Their main goal is to see unity among members of all cultural backgrounds involved within the organization.
“If you like Africa, if you’re from Africa, or if you want to know more about Africa, come to the meetings,” said Omoloja.
ASA meetings are held every other Wednesday evening at 5 p.m.