African Student Association to host beauty pageant

Shantel-Ann Pettway

Those wanting to experience Africa without the cost of traveling abroad will be able to do so next semester.

The African Student Association, or ASA, will put on the Miss Africa Pageant next semester to expose students to the different cultures in Africa. 

“In order for me to like WKU more, I decided to form a association of people who have similar customs as myself,” said Nashville junior Nneka Nwosisi, president of ASA. 

Nwosisi founded ASA in the fall of 2013 to expand diversity on campus and become more knowledgeable of other Africans on campus. 

ASA has held different events on campus, such as bake sales in Mass Media and Technology Hall and Taste of Africa, which showcased African food, fashion and a cultural expose. Last month, ASA also hosted Africa Week.

“During Africa Week, we had an awareness-day discussion panel where we discussed the misconceptions Africa has,” Nwosisi said. 

Nwosisi said the main goal of ASA’s Miss Africa Pageant is to give people a feel for what Africa has to offer, to promote the importance of diversity and bring awareness to students about other countries.   

“We want our pageant to be diverse — it’s open to every color,” she said. “There’s no discrimination. We want everyone to participate.” 

Each contestant in the pageant will have an ASA member as a coach to teach them about different areas in Africa. The contestant will represent the country their coach taught them about.

 Nashville sophomore Michelle Egbujor, ASA treasurer, said the pageant will help students learn about an unfamiliar culture.

“Teaching contestants about Africa makes the competition extremely fun because contestants can learn how to appreciate something that is out of the norm for them,” she said. 

The categories in the pageant include introduction, in which the contestants introduce themselves and the country they are representing, evening wear, in which contestants will showcase both traditional and modern African clothing, a talent portion and a question-and-answer section.

St. Louis sophomore Alexia Cannady said the evening wear portion of the pageant will be unique.

“When I think of pageants, I immediately think about big ball gowns,” she said. “It’s kind of cool that participants will be wearing clothing we may not be used to and it’ll open your eyes about different fashions between America and other countries.” 

ASA is partnering with The Office of International Programs who will help fund the project. The department of African American Studies is another potential sponsor for the pageant. 

There will be a $500 book scholarship given to the winner at the end of the pageant. 

ASA plans to begin fundraising at the beginning of next semester to fund the scholarship and will also seek help from the Student Government Association.

Nigeria native Kathy Onwu, Miss Africa USA 2013, will be a special guest at the pageant. ASA hopes to get  professors, such as Lloren Foster, assistant professor of African American Studies, to participate in judging. 

“This pageant will let those who don’t have the opportunity to travel a lot to experience what Africa is,” Nwosisi said. “Even though we’re only in Bowling Green, ASA wants to provide students to take a trip around the world with this pageant.”