Several different clubs promote diversity on campus

Henri Aboah, Alexandria Anderson

Cultural clubs and organizations centered around underrepresented groups provide students an opportu- nity to connect with their peers and allow for their voices to be heard on campus.

The 2021 WKU Factbook defines underrepresented minority students as Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or AfricanAmerican, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander or two or more races. These students made up 21.9% of first-time, first-year students in Fall 2020.

The number of people in the United States who identify as LGBTQ+ rose from 4.5% in 2017 to 5.6% in 2021, according to a 2021 Gallup poll. The data also found that the majority of respondents identified as bisexual, and one in six adults in Generation Z consider themselves LGBTQ+.

Asian American Student Association

The Asian American Student Association is a group focused on giving a community and platform to Asian American students on campus, lending them the ability to share their voices and educate on Asian culture in the community.

“So far this semester, our organization has celebrated cultural holidays like the Mid-Autumn Festival, participated in Bowling Green’s International Festival and sponsored food events like Hot-Pot night,” Noah Lyles, a junior Chinese and political science double major and president of the AASA, said. “In addition to these cultural events, we plan on hosting discussion nights where Asian students and friends can discuss relevant social issues as well as events that can educate WKU students on culturally Asian topics, like language nights and cultural showcases.

Lyles said the AASA is planning multiple events in the future to raise awareness about the Bowling Green Asian community.

Lyles encouraged students to get involved in these events to broaden cultural awareness of the Asian com- munity at WKU and in Bowling Green. He explained that any student can attend AASA meetings and events. Although the primary goal of the AASA is to give a platform to Asian American students, all students are welcome to be introduced to a different culture.

The AASA is one of many organizations on campus that is important for creating a diverse and inclusive environment. The opportunities it offers are valuable to many students.

“Our organization is largely a re- sult of there being no formal platform or community for Asian students at WKU, until now,” Lyles said. “Especially in the wake of Stop Asian Hate and similar movements, it is more important than ever for Asian students at WKU to have a place where they feel comfortable to embrace, explore and share their cultural heritage and identity.”

Lyles said the AASA’s primary goal is to represent the underrepresent- ed and work towards the interests of Asian students at WKU. The AASA can be found on Instagram @wkuaasa.

Queer Student Union

The Queer Student Union is an organization focused on giving a safe space and platform to people in the LGBTQ+ community. Its goal is to provide students a place to comfortably experience their identities and find community with other students.

“At the end of the day, we want queer people to have a space on campus,” Leslie Urbano, a sophomore political science major and president of the QSU, said. “We want a space where students are more inclined to be themselves and a place for them to feel comfortable. We have a weekly meeting every Wednesday and often have guest speakers.”

Urbano stressed that having this open and accepting space on campus is vital because some students might have not been given opportunities like this in the past.

She also explained how the QSU matters within the WKU community as a place where students not only find acceptance but they can branch out into other accepting communities as well.

“It’s really important to have an organization like QSU as like a jumping off point to find resources and to find that community space that you feel comfortable using,” Urbano said. “Because overall we have the QSU but if you’re part of the honors college there’s ‘Out in Honors’, if you identify as trans or nonbinary there’s ‘TNB’, but we’re like the starting-off point.”

The WKU QSU can be found on Instagram @qsuwku.

HOLAS

The HOLAS is an organization that brings together Hispanic and Latin American communities.

“HOLAS, the Hilltoppers Organ- ization of Latin American Students, strives to represent all students who come from Latin American or Hispan- ic background,” Amanda Webb, Public Relations Chair, said.

Webb mentioned that the organization is not exclusive and anyone can join.

“HOLAS has brought me great friends, taught me lots about many different culture and has given [me] a community that feels like home,” Webb said.

HOLAS does volunteer opportunities that give back to the community and holds cultural events that every- one can get involved in.

“We promote diversity on campus and create a place to share our unique cultures and experiences with others.”

HOLAS can be found on Instagram @wkuholas.

African Student Union

The African Student Union is an organization for African students to find a community at WKU.

The ASU holds events to share information about what is happening in Africa as well as events to share African culture in the WKU community.

“ASU is important because we cel- ebrate and raise awareness of African culture on campus and around the city of Bowling Green,” Christian Koko, ASU president, said.

Koko is a second year graduate student majoring in applied economics.

Koko said the organization promotes unity among African students without discrimination of race, ethnicity, nationality or belief.

For Koko, ASU has impacted him significantly because it helped facili- tate his transition to the Hill from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“The WKU ASU has given me an opportunity to nurture and to men- tor others in leadership,” Koko said. “WKU ASU, through the department [of ] Global Learning, has offered me an opportunity to discuss various issues of the continent and to raise awareness of African culture.”

The ASU recently restarted after a year of being inactive and is still looking for new members. The organization is not limited to students from African descent but is open for any students interested in African culture.

“We provide a home away from home for African students at WKU as well as supporting our enculturation at the university.”

WKU ASU can be found on Insta- gram @wkuasu.

News reporter Alexandria Anderson can be reached at alexandria.ander- [email protected]

News reporter Henri Aboah can be reached at [email protected] wku.edu.