New African Student Org Established

UCSD admitted the most transfer students and underrepresented students in its history this year. The birth of the ASA coincides with UCSD’s increase in diversity.

Two years ago, Marshall College Senior Ngozi Ukezue organized informal meetings and discussions about the African community for students. Along with the support of other students and administrators who did not want to named, Ukezue was able to make ASA an official school organization on Sept. 14, 2010.

Ukezue said there was a need for an organization that represented African students. The ASA’s mission statement is to unite, uplift and support African students, ban stereotypes about African and act as an educational resource for anyone who wants to learn about Africa.

“I saw a lot of African students on campus that did not know each and were not really united by anything,” Ukezue said. “I wanted the wonderful people that I’ve met to get to know each other, to build a community and to help foster that part of their identity, so that they can grow here as a student comfortably.”

Ukezue thought African students could grow socially as well educationally.

“[I want students] to establish a positive image of Africa in this community,” Ukezue said. “Here, the only time we actually hear anything about Africa, it’s about the children or genocide, and those take over everyone’s perspective of the continent.”

Muir College junior Hana Kohin, a member of the organization, feels more comfortable on campus now that she can turn to the ASA.

“I saw there wasn’t a space where I felt like I fit on campus fully,” Kohin said. “I am a black student, a Muslim student, but I’m also an African student, so it was really important to me to be around other people who have that experience.”

President of the ASA Naima Dahir said the one thing the club lacks is more members.

“We need to work on trying to make our voice heard campus because we’re planning to have an African Woman’s Struggle Exhibit,” Dahir said.

One of the biggest issues they want to tackle is the idea of Africa being a identified as country.

“People don’t realize that it’s not a country,” Ukezue said.

She said she has a friend who has a 4.0 GPA and is double-majoring who thought Africa was a country.

“There’s all this rich heritage,” Ukezue said. “That shouldn’t be overshadowed by the other stuff.”

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