Campus organization provides familiar atmosphere

Lashana Harney

One campus organization is in the process of reforming to provide students with camaraderie and community. 

The African Students’ Union is a campus organization that enables African students to feel at home while they are studying and living in America, said the current ASU president and Ghana sophomore Henry Nottinson.

The organization also extended membership to non-African students, so they can learn about African culture.

“Africa is the motherland,” Nottinson said. “It is the land that gives birth to every place, so everyone is free to join.”

ASU formed three semesters ago by four students: Nneka Nwosisi, Itunu Francis, Michelle Egbujor and Jessica Anderson.

“It formally started with Nneka,” Nottinson said. “She felt like she didn’t have any African friends here, so she wanted to transfer.” 

However, Nottinson said the pre-existing group lacked in size and structure. 

Nigerian graduate student Nnadozie Ojiako said ASU is growing under the new structure and leadership.

“It is something that is still growing and hopefully it will get stronger over time,” he said. 

Currently, ASU pursues volunteer work, community services and educational programs. The ASU board meets every Wednesday to discuss upcoming events. 

Nottinson said in the upcoming weeks, the organization plans to host an open forum to engage more students. 

The group also recently hosted a bake sale in Mass Media and Technology Hall to raise money.

ASU is also fundraising to attend an upcoming event called “Taste of Africa” at the University of Kentucky. WKU’s ASU plans to register with the National African Students Union (NASU) and plans to reach out to Africans currently residing in Africa. WKU’s ASU has existing connections with the University of Kentucky and Michigan State University. 

“We look up to them, but they are not our limit,” Nottinson said.  “We want to succeed, and excel more than they are.” 

Nottinson said having ASU at WKU is important.

“WKU is one of the leading American universities,” he said. “Its campus is diverse and Africans make up a huge percentage of that international outreach… Recently, I heard some Africans wanted to transfer. Why? Because they don’t feel at home. They don’t feel welcome, because there is no organization to join.” 

ASU treasurer and Nigerian sophomore Michelle Egbujor said ASU brings people together.

“It’s a chance for people who don’t know much about Africa to learn about it,” Egbujor said. “I also like the fact that it’s a bonding experience for people who are coming from Africa so they don’t feel so alone and not together while they are in a different country.”

Nottinson said it’s the only place Africans can come together on campus.

“It’s a union,” he said. “Everyone can feel the unity, feel love and just feel at home.”