The Center for Africana Engagement was established by African and African Americans to give the community a better understanding of the “Black experience” in America. The center also wants to engage with the community and other groups on campus to grow together as a university. The center is located in the Beckham Hall basement. In the future, they hope to add computers and a bigger TV monitor.

Ogechi Anyanwu, director of African and African American studies, believes that the Center for Africana Engagement is important to Eastern Kentucky University because it enhances diversity and promotes a better understanding of what the Black experience is. The center can be used as a resource for anyone working on assignments that involve African & African American studies.

The center also has other benefits for students. The center has hired five students and mentors for this fall and plans to do the same next fall. Students can earn three credit hours towards a co-op by assisting students with writing papers on Black history and finding the correct information that they need.

Anyanwu wants to see the Center for Africana Engagement partner with other groups on campus. 

“If you want to walk fast, walk alone, if you want to walk far, walk together,” Anyanwu said. 

They also would like to invite speakers in to engage with students in the future.

The Center for Africana Engagement is important to Anyanwu because he is a professor of history and African studies. Anyanwu is passionate about changing the stereotypes about African and African Americans. He wants to create conversation and help people get a better understanding of African and African Americans to hopefully change those stereotypes.

Iddah Otieno, professor of African and African American studies, thinks the Center for Africana Engagement is important to EKU because it will help educate the students and the community on Black history and what the Black experience is in America. She believes the things that they can teach students will help mold the future generation of leaders.

Otieno would also like to see the center involved with other groups. One of the groups they are eager to walk with is the Latino Outreach Program, which served as a model for the center.

The center is important to Otieno because as a proud Kenyan she loves to talk about Africa. She also believes that it is important not to focus on the bad things that have happened in Africa or that are currently going, but to talk about the good things that happen in Africa as well. 

To find out more about African and African American studies at EKU visit afastudies.eku.edu.

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