Bearkat Orgs: African Student Association
Feb. 10, 2023
SHSU Media Contact: Campbell Atkins
Bearkat Orgs is a series highlighting the works of SHSU’s many on-campus student organizations. For more information on campus organizations or information on how to join or start a campus organization, visit OrgLINK.
Sam Houston State University junior and president of the African Student Association (ASA) Oppong Owusu-Kyereko knows that we are only separated by arbitrary boundaries such as borders and lines. This sentiment is shared by the organization that proudly operates under the mantra, “Divided by Lines… United by Tradition.”
“Humanity originated in Africa. We have so many lines and borders that separate us but, at the end of the day, we are one big continent,” Owusu-Kyereko said. “Our traditions such as culture, food, dances and celebrations bring us together and make us who we are.”
But the association’s culture of diversity and openness goes beyond a single continent. There are active members currently within its ranks who have no ties to Africa other than a desire to learn more about its traditions and find camaraderie among their fellow students.
“ASA is not just for Africans or Black people, it’s for anybody who is interested and wants to learn more about the culture and traditions,” Owusu-Kyereko said.
Owusu-Kyereko first came to the ASA through word of mouth and attended his first meeting with a group of friends during his first year. After meeting a number of friends, many of whom he shared cultural backgrounds with, he had found a home.
According to Owusu-Kyereko, the association has about 50 active members along with roughly 30 more unofficial members who regularly attend their meetings and get-togethers. Members convene every other Monday for their general body meetings, which highlight new information pertaining to the association, upcoming events and fundraisers to bring in money for the organization or community.
On the weeks the ASA does not meet for their general body meetings, they will typically hold a fundraiser such as a bake sale. They also hold regular social events at members’ houses or restaurants.
Some of their larger events see hundreds of visitors. These events include dances such as their Love in the Ville Valentine’s Day dance last February. They also interact with students from other universities at the annual ASA weekend in November, which features groups from all over Texas. This event includes a dance competition as well as a cultural fashion show.
“It is our ability to bring people out and build a community,” Owusu-Kyereko said. “We are all very friendly, welcoming and always willing to bring people in to open their eyes and show them what ASA is all about because, at the end of the day, there is nothing that divides us but lines.”
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