The student body is lively at Florida A&M University as today marks the start of events for the Jamaican Student Association (JAMSA) week.
JAMSA week is a multi-day event that recognizes and unites the Caribbean student body with a Jamaican exposition.
JAMSA is an organization that was found by Keanu Hewitt, a Jamaican native, who traveled to the United States for school.
Hewitt originally got the inspiration from his previous school, The University of Florida.
With there being an absent presence of the Caribbean Student Association, Hewitt developed JAMSA to reintroduce the idea last Fall.
Hewitt, a fourth-year music industry student, said the most important aspect of JAMSA week is cultural awareness. He also said that in the future, he wants to curate a study abroad program to reconnect Jamaican students with the country and their heritage.
“All for me, cultural awareness, I push that heavy,” Hewitt said. “When I get to a certain point in life, I want to offer opportunities for study abroad for the students who are American but have Jamaican descent.”
The events that are being held during next week are all-day food events that take place in the bottom café, study sessions, and a panel discussion about relationships, experience and more.
They also had a social party for Friday’s event, Pon Di Block jerk chicken sale.
Thaylene Meda, a third-year nursing student, said that despite not being of Jamaican descent, she still appreciates seeing students embrace their culture.
Meda also said it’s reassuring to know there is representation for Caribbean students.
“Even though I’m Haitian, I still heard about JAMSA and I think that’s cool people are spreading word about it,” Meda said. “It’s nice to have and know other people you can relate to.”
Jamal Ireland, a fourth-year broadcast journalism major and Jamaican native, said that he wishes there was more awareness about the events. Ireland also said there should be more scholarship opportunities for Caribbean students.
“I’ve heard of JAMSA, I just wish I knew sooner,” Ireland said. “I would like to see more events for the Caribbean students and also scholarship opportunities.”
As students prepare to celebrate another successful JAMSA Week, they look forward to week filled with learning, love, and a new sense of camaraderie for Jamaican culture.
Monday will showcase the second day of events, the Rep Your Flag event on Feb. 5, in the bottom café.