African Student Union giving African cultural experience

Africa illustration

Brittiny Moore

In partnership with the International Year of South Africa and the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, the African Student Union will be showcasing the diverse cultures of Africa during an event this Saturday.

Africa Night will highlight poetry, step performances, food, art exhibits, fashion and more. The event, which will take place in the Downing Student Union auditorium from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., intends to give WKU students and the community exposure to the rich variety of the continent’s culture.

“We hope from this event that most people from Bowling Green and the area can learn different cultures of Africa and not only base their knowledge off what they see on TV or what they hear,” Nigerian junior Abdul Salam Yusuf Olanrewaju, the vice president of ASU, said.

The ASU hopes it can provide participants with a new view of Africa that is not focused on poverty and other negative associations.

“[We want] to have them see a different view of Africa based on a different perspective,” Olanrewaju said. 

ASU also agreed WKU students lack exposure to different cultures, both those represented on campus and those that are not.

“I think that WKU can expand and learn all the cultures, and it would be wonderful,” said Nigerian sophomore Ruth Ushebekpe Alasha, organizing secretary for ASU. “Looking at the Bowling Green community, there are lots of people from different countries, and there are lots of people speaking different languages.”

Exposing people to different cultures is important for erasing stereotyped views of traits that define particular groups of people, according to Henry Nottinson, Ghana senior and president of ASU. 

“Culture is dynamic, and what you might take to be respectful, others might take it to be disrespectful,” Nottinson said. “You have to know your boundaries and how to interact with [different backgrounds].”

The ASU hopes to create more awareness of different cultures on campus and provide students with opportunities to experience Bowling Green’s diversity.

A reception will follow the Nov. 21 event on the third floor of DSU from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The event is free, and all members of the university and community are welcome.

The ASU is excited to share its experiences with the Bowling Green community and hopes Africa Night will help spread some positivity and acceptance of all international students and their cultures.

“Even if we’re Africans and here [in the U.S.], we tend to assimilate to some American culture, but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that we’ve forgotten where we come from or our cultures,” Alasha said.