Asia Key, The Black Bear – The Association of Black Collegians hosted their annual week of events from April 3 through April 9. It was dubbed ABC Screening 2016, as the theme centered around television shows that were popular in the nineties and early 2000s.
Queatrice Roper, vice president of the organization, said they wanted to have the events connect with the black college-aged students’ collective childhood. The events for the week were:
- Sunday, April 3 – Recess: Flag Football
- Monday, April 4 – The Proud Family: Culture Shock
- Tuesday, April 5 – Sesame Street: Community Service
- Wednesday, April 6 – That’s So Raven: See Into Your Future
- Thursday, April 7 – Netflix & Chill: Movie Night
- Friday, April 8 – Anything But Clothes Party, and
- Saturday April 9 – Kim Possible: A Sitch In Time.
[Flyers posted to ABC’s Instagram for promotion of the week’s events. All photos obtained via Instagram. (@abcmsu)]
For ‘The Proud Family’ event, ABC collaborated with the Association of International Students as well as the Indian Student Association to bring students of different backgrounds together to enjoy foods and music specific to their cultures and bring fellowship. Roper expressed excitement about the Executive Board’s intentions for this day, and also it’s success.
“[It] showed that we may have different skin colors, but we can display our cultures in different ways,” Roper said.
Each member of the Executive Board collaborated their efforts in organizing the party. Aside from that, there was a member assigned to for spreading the word and provide the supplies for each day. The members and their separate responsibilities are as follows:
- President Christina Gardner – Monday
- Vice President Kiki Roper – Sunday and Thursday
- Treasurer Chris Collins
- Community Service Chair Brandi Higgins – Tuesday
- Secretary Kiva Donahue – Wednesday
- Public Relations Chair Dorrean Cunningham
Wednesday’s event sought to provide networking opportunities for students and young professionals in the Springfield area with careers ranging from architect to advertising agent. They include:
- John Oke-Thomas: Entrepreneur and CEO of an architecture form
- Mark Simmonds: Special education teacher for Springfield public schools
- Shayla Patrick: Reporter for KY3
- Amanda Perkins: Professor of Kinesiology at Missouri State, and
- Jasmine Barnes: Assistant Account Executive at The Alchemedia Project.
Sophomore Alexis Creamer, an active member of ABC since Spring 2015, said that thisevent was her favorite.
“You learn a lot from black professionals,” Creamer said. “It’s easier to communicate with those who are the same race as you, because they have similar stories.”
She also contributed to the structure of this event, suggesting a “speed networking” format – where the professionals were set up at different tables, and the students spent a few minutes talking with each of them.
Roper agreed that this was one of her favorite events, because it provided networking possibilities to the attendees.
“I feel like a lot of people got to really talk to them on a personal level,” Roper said. “[They] got some insight on things they wanted to know, in terms of what they want to do after graduation, getting internships for the summer coming up and getting their name out there. Because nowadays it’s really about who you know.”
Attendance, Creamer suggests, has lacked as the semester has progressed. However, Roper hinged the success of the week on what the attendees were able to take from the events.
“Even [if only] five people might have been there – if those five people really enjoy themselves and they got something out of why we did that event, then I feel like it was a successful day for us,” Roper said. “Attendance is always something we look for and want, but just because you have twenty people there and they aren’t really doing anything, it’s not as successful as if you have those five people who were really engaged.”Creamer, who is considering a major in marketing management and a possible minor in technical writing, was attracted to ABC initially because of their unity and presence on campus. She thinks it is a completely necessary organization.
“I feel like our generation really lacks black unity,” Creamer said. “There is a consistent feeling of competition – we don’t really support each other the way we should. We need to network and engage with others outside of party settings because we are growing up and becoming professionals in whatever career we want to do. [Being in ABC] shows you how to interact with others in different settings, how to event plan and how to properly communicate with people. It’s necessary to have that structure. Why wouldn’t you want to help the other black people in your community and become together in something? We need the unity and knowledge to learn from others and grow.”
Creamer said she likes the direction ABC is headed. The only improvement she thinks they need to make is increasing member turnout.
GA meetings for ABC are on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. in room 313 of the Plaster Student Union.