African Student Association educates the campus community

African Student Association members dance during the Afro Night event in the Powell Student Center.

The African Student Association (ASA) was created a handful of years ago when a group of students saw the need. The goal of ASA is to expose the student body, university and community of Richmond to African experiences and culture. ASA is meant to be a place where people with ties to Africa can meet people they can relate to. 

“Afro Night” was one of the bigger events that ASA hosted, according to vice president, Hodavia Kaseya. The event served as an introduction to the students that help run ASA. There was African food, African music and students from different backgrounds conversing. The night ended with dancing, where almost everyone joined in on the fun.

Besides events like Afro Night, ASA participates in monthly meetings, community involvement events, large events and smaller events.

Cinzeen Daleng, 20, president of ASA and senior public health major from Nigeria, joined ASA because she wanted to be a part of a community that was like her. 

“It’s important to meet people who are different because it helps you learn new things and learn about other cultures, but it is equally important to find people who are like you because it gives you a place where you can feel safe and know that no matter what you are accepted,” said Daleng.

ASA is important to Daleng because being away from family is tough, but ASA serves as a home away from home. She also feels that it is important to be with people who are like you and have common interests because it helps you feel safe and comfortable.

Kaseya, 21, senior psychology major from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), joined ASA as a freshman because she felt there was little diversity at EKU and wanted to be around people that were like her.

One thing that Kaseya would like to see going forward is more support from the university. She feels the diversity at EKU is lacking, and, at the end of the day, she wants every student at EKU to feel welcome here no matter what. ASA is important to Kaseya because she likes making connections and meeting new people. She also loves knowing that she has a voice and is heard.

Jennifer Lemus, 19, sophomore social work major from Warsaw, Kentucky, first heard about Afro Night when she saw a flyer for the event at the library. She really enjoyed the title Afro Night and liked the photo used in the flyer. Her favorite part of Afro Night was the food, especially the egusi. She also enjoyed dancing with the students. Lemus feels that ASA is important to the student body at EKU because it shows diversity, something she believes is lacking at EKU. 

“Meeting new people, exposing yourself to new cultures and learning about those cultures will always make you a better person in the long run,” said Lemus.

Kaseya said ASA is planning a bigger event for the end of this year once the semester is over. It would not just include the students at EKU. They hope to coordinate with the University of Kentucky and Berea College so that students from their universities may come to the event as well.

For more information on the African Student Association visit EKU Engage here.

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