Finding your roots with ASA

In Tallahassee, college students attending Florida A&M University and Florida State University can join the African Student Association. In this organization, international (and non-international) students from Africa can find a sense of home and belonging.

ASA, also known as the FAMU-FSU ASA is a club that originated in October 2012. According to Michael Mensah-Mamfo, a sophomore biology pre-med student and ASA treasurer, the purpose of the organization is to “enlighten the public about the cultural and historical significance of Africa.”

“ASA provides an array of activities,” Mensah-Mamfo said. “We organize social and bonding events, volunteering opportunities, educational and informative sessions, parties, pageants and an annual cultural showcase.”

ASA in the past has partnered with other organizations on campus such as the Caribbean Student Association (CSA) and the Haitian Cultural Club (HCC).

“We have partnered with other cultural organizations in the past years but lately that has not been the case,” Mensah Mamfo said. “However, we look forward to partner with an array of organizations on campus in the coming semesters.”

Throughout each semester, the organization hosts various meant to celebrate and inform others about their culture. Like other organizations on campus, ASA also hosts pageants. One event in particular many members look forward to is the annual cultural showcase. This year the showcase will be held on April 6th.

The cultural showcase will include performances, food and more for guests to look forward to. Senior political science student and Miss ASA 2018-2019, Nailah Dugger, hoped the community would come out and support the organization.

“It’s always a night of fun with live performances as well as a way to further our mission statement,” Dugger said. “Our organization sets out to show that Africa is very diverse, and the uniqueness of its many parts make it as beautiful as it is.”

To Dugger, the club is a “home away from home” for African students. It also educates students who are of African descent and teaches them to appreciate the beauty of Africa.

“For me the organization has served as a way for me to learn more about my heritage,” Dugger said. “Being an African-American, sometimes we are stripped of that and ASA with open arms gladly welcomed me in.”

Since the organization is a conjoined between two schools, both locations are used for club activities.  Junior food science student and ASA member Victoria Alaka explained how each university worked together to ensure everything went smoothly.

“We hold our general body meetings on both campuses,” Alaka said. “If one general body meeting is held at FAMU, then the next is held at FSU and we alternate all year.”

For Alaka, ASA has provided a cultural sanctuary for her here at FAMU.  She expressed the organization has allowed her to communicate with and, in turn, relate to people of her own culture and people of other countries.

“I feel understood in the African Student Association and welcome at every meeting and event,” Alaka said. “To find a concentrated group of people that understand how I grew up from my perspective was very refreshing because we create bonds just discussing and laughing about different things that we understand in a way other do not or cannot.”

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