The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

African Student Association active at MU again

After a two-year pause, the African Student Association is resuming operations on Marquette’s campus.

While it is unclear what exactly led to the organization’s pause, Natan Fessahaye, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences and vice president of ASA, said that a few factors probably contributed.

“Even though I, personally, don’t know the specifics on why ASA stopped meeting, I think it had to be a combination of COVID-19 and also just people being busy,” Fessahaye said.

Recognizing his urge to see the ASA finally get back into the swing of things, Fessahaye said he entered his sophomore school year with the hope to be a part of ASA’s return. 

“I really wanted to be a part of something to express my culture and heritage, and I felt like the rest of the campus needed to experience it as well,” Fessahaye said. “So, I decided it was my responsibility to bring it back into fruition.”

To create an organization on campus, Marquette requires students to get their organization approved by the Office of Engagement and Inclusion, as well as training sessions to inform the organization on Marquette’s policies and procedures.

While ASA’s meetings did not officially kick off until Jan. 2023, Fessahaye said that preparation started long before then. 

“The planning began back in September of this school year,” Fessahaye said. “We had a lot of meetings, we had to go through different types of verification through the university to be able to access funds and we also just had to start recruiting people to join the organization.” 

Since then, Dami Awosika, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences and chair of social media and communications for ASA said they have made progress inviting students to join and gathering information on what these students wish to see the organization accomplish. 

For Awosika, it’s important to her that ASA eventually host celebrations that members have enjoyed in the past. 

“There’s been a tradition on campus to have an African gala fashion show, so we want to bring that back,” Awosika said. “We’re really just hoping we can continue old traditions while also starting our own new ones.”

Awosika also said that she is looking forward to ASA once again being a source for students to go to in order to educate themselves on African culture, history and heritage. 

With white students making up 67% of the university’s undergraduate population, Marquette is recognized as a predominantly white institution. 

Reflecting on these statistics, Awosika said she hopes ASA can encourage a campus-wide interest in learning about Africa. 

“On TikTok, I’ve seen people going around their PWI and asking students to name five countries in Africa, and some of these students cannot even name five countries, which means they probably don’t know anything about the people in those countries, or their background or how to interact with them,” Awosika said. “There does not have to be this much ignorance if you just provide people with the access to learn about things.”

Lurit Lako, a sophomore in the College of Engineering and co-chair of ASA said a continuous goal of ASA is to ensure that students across the entire campus feel invited to join. 

“It’s one thing to have a safe space for people in the African community or for people wanting to learn about the African community to go to, but it’s another thing to make those people feel welcomed and feel like they’re allowed to be there,” Lako said. 

Overall, Awosika said that the organization is excited for what is to come and is proud of what they’ve accomplished already. 

“Marquette’s phrase is ‘Be the Difference’, and so this is our small way of being the difference,” Awosika said. “ASA wasn’t around for two years, so now being able to present these events and opportunities again shows that just by putting in effort, you can make a change.”

This story was written by Erin Howard. She can be reached at [email protected]

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Erin Howard, Copy Editor
Erin Howard is a sophomore from Clarendon Hills, Illinois and is studying journalism. This year, Erin will serve on the Marquette Wire as a Copy Editor. Outside of the Wire, she enjoys running and listening to music. Erin is very excited to get to know more people on each branch of the Wire and share the important stories happening around campus.

Comments (0)

All Marquette Wire Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *