By: Constance Ebienfa
When students attend college in a foreign location; a home affiliated association is always necessary, whether regional, national or as specific as it can be. Lincoln University has been no stranger to this tradition. Over the years, the university has been home to associations like the Caribbean students association, African students association, the DMV (District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia) association and more. While some of these associations have lasted since they were founded, others have existed multiple times independent of the previous.
The African Student Association (ASA) is a new regional organization that was started in the fall of 2016 and is still growing. While this is not the first ASA that has existed on the LU campus, all the various associations have started and ended mostly due to the fluctuating population of international students from the motherland over the years. While the association is directly aimed at being a homely platform for the continental students, it has a history of not neglecting the affairs that concern the brothers and sisters in the diaspora.
During the civil rights era, the association allegedly stood with the movement and supported the movement as they could. At the time, the association was led by brothers and sisters from southern Africa who were committed to the fight for the rights of black peoples in America. Although the Civil Rights Movement has ended, in these times of institutional racism and mass police murder the association stands with all black people in the U.S. against it as well. The association also understands that in this day and age, for reasons such as correct education, immigration and the Internet; cultures among the black race a now better exchanged and understood. It accepts the fact that all black people are one and African indeed. To this effect, it has provided room for associate membership for peoples who identify as Africans and accept the continent in a positive light. To further educate the campus, the association has hosted events such as; African diversity day, Let us talk stereotypes: a forum, and more. The association also plans to feature a number of events during their week that showcase cultures from the continent and the essence of the association.
Besides educating the campus, the association is also focused on its goal of enriching its members well. The founders hope that members will leave the association and/or institution, attributing many great lessons and life skills that were learnt as a result of being a part of ASA. The ASA intends to be a well-rounded association and kindred spirit, providing avenues for fun between the member as well as academic support via tutoring and library committee. The association also made provision for financial assistance to qualifying members by scholarships. Other ways to possibly enrich members will be the association contacting alumni and acting as a middle person to seek vacant job or internship positions for qualifying members.
Whatever decade it is, the importance of a regional association cannot be overemphasized. The force of people from different cultures coming together as one under the baobab tree of the continent, Africa, is one that when horned right can reach many heights.