Student leaders share visions

Many student leaders got involved in the celebration of Black History Month.

by Kori Koch

Student leaders from many multicultural groups organized events during Black History Month.

As Black History Month comes to an end, some student leaders shared their reasons for getting involved. Some shared what they hope to accomplish. Others talked about minority representation on campus.

Nneka Ikeme is the African Student Association secretary. Ikeme said she originally joined to create awareness about issues affecting both continental Africans and black University students.

“It’s our obligation to creatively inform and teach others about what’s going on,” she said.

But Ikeme said she believes some students will always feel ignored.

“Representing every ethnicity is a difficult task to accomplish,” she said.

Ahmed Jama, president of the Somali Student Association, said he chose to lead because of his positive experience as a member.

“I knew what our organization was capable of and understood exactly what needed to be done,” said Jama, who has been a member since 2000 and the association’s president since 2004.

The Somali student population has grown steadily, and he feels the University understands the needs of minority groups on campus, Jama said.

When the founders of SISTAHS graduated, Naamonde Williams said, she and other members kept the group going by filling leadership positions. SISTAHS is a group for black women on campus to discuss sisterhood and empowerment.

Charles Helm and Terrence Jordan said they attempted to fill large shoes as new leaders of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

“Our forefront leaders set great examples that we must follow,” said Jordan, who is the membership intake director. “It’s important to make sure change is being made.”

Jordan said he would have liked to see more white students at events supporting Black History Month.

Too few students knew about and supported Black History Month, said Cassandra Gundy and Stefanie Clay, who represent the citywide chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Clay, the sorority president, said it provides programming to uplift and enrich minorities both on and off campus.

Gundy, the group’s treasurer and secretary, said the sorority focuses on giving back to the community. Members meet biweekly with adolescent women to discuss and answer questions about entering womanhood.

Godson Udeh, president of the National Society of Black Engineers, said he strives to create strong leaders and mentors out of the society members and strengthen relationships with corporate partners.

“I became president, because the situation called for it, and the timing was right,” Udeh said.

He said he hopes to see a smooth transition between present and future leaders before graduation in May.

Udeh said he is content with current minority representation on campus.

“It’s increasing, and that’s all that matters,” he said.