FAMU’s campus is made up of all kinds of people, from different cultures and different backgrounds. College provides an environment were students can associate with other students from across the globe.
The Caribbean Student Association is a club for those students. The Caribbean is made up of approximately 32 small providence islands including the Bahamas and Bermuda. Some of the well known islands are Jamaica, Haiti, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The CSA has been around for a while according to current 2004-05 President Melissa Bridgewater, a graduating senior public relations student from Trinidad and Tobago. “Since about 1975 underground,” she said.
In 1997, the organization became an official Activities & Services Agency, allowing them to receive money from the student government. The FAMU CSA is also a member of the Florida Caribbean Student Association.
The FCSA holds a convention every semester at a different college campus and in the fall 2005, FAMU is hosting it here, in Tallahassee. “Feels nice that our turn has arrived,” Bridgewater said.
FAMU’s CSA is made up of 80 members and has about 60 active members
“New members come every week,” said Chase Knight, 18, a freshman chemical engineering student from Jamaica.
The CSA stays busy participating in several community service projects, such as Making a Friend, Relay for Life, March of Dimes, the Afro-Caribbean Concert and other activities.
“Last semester we had a day in the park, Caribbean style,” Knight said. “It was great.”
The CSA is currently trying to raise money for flood and hurricane victims.
“Were going to have a canned good drive for the victims,” Bridgewater said.
Students in the CSA have heard some stereotypes about Caribbean people, which they say are not true.
“Demolish the Caribbean stereotype, people assume Caribbean people know how to party” Bridgewater said. “It does not matter where you are from the values are still the same.
“We’re just like you all, are culture is just different.
In about a month, the CSA will get to share their culture with the whole campus.
March 27 to April 2 is Caribbean week. The goal of the club is to get students on campus a better understanding of what the Caribbean is and introduce them to the culture.
“Our number one goal is cultural awareness,” Bridgewater said.
For students from the Caribbean, the CSA provides a circle of people they can relate with.
“(They) took me in like family,” Knight said. “(It) feels just like home, feels very nice,”
Students who attend these meetings usually keep coming back, even if they aren’t from the Caribbean.
“They’re so nurturing, real nice, overwhelmingly nice,” said Keenan Stokes, 20, a junior business administration student from East Lansing, Michigan.
Bridgewater said one of the purposes CSA is to get students to think.
“Changing people’s minds is a hard thing to do,” she said. “But when it does, it’s excellent.”
The club embraces all students from any and everywhere. No Caribbean heritage is required, just an interest in learning about the Caribbean. Keenan Stokes is serving as the co-chair for next fall’s conference, and he’s from Michigan.
“They grab you and bring you in, I come every week” said Stokes, who’s been coming every week now for a full year. “The women are very beautiful”.
Students interested in the club should contact student activities. “We would be pleased to have you” Bridgewater said.
Contact Royle King at firstname.lastname@example.org