African Cultural Association hopes to gain traction post-pandemic


Jessie Wang

The executive board members of of the African Cultural Association pose for a picture at their meeting on Monday. The association provides tools and resources to the community, not just those of African descent.

By Jessie Wang, Staff Writer

The African Cultural Association is hoping to grow and revive traditions after COVID-19 stopped some of the organization’s momentum.

Zainab Umardeen, senior in LAS and president of ACA, said that because the African student population on campus is small, the club aims to connect students to their roots. 

“A lot of us are natives from our countries, and we came to America as first-generation college students,” Umardeen said. “ACA provides resources, tools and people to serve the community.”

Ophelia Twerefour, sophomore in LAS, said her experience with ACA has been positive so far because of the club’s welcoming environment. 

“Your community makes you comfortable on campus … everyone’s just like a family,” Twerefour said.

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Tayo Oriade, senior in LAS, agreed with Twerefour.

“I found joining clubs, whether ACA or the Black Student Union, a good way to find community,” Oriade said. 

Abigail Aderinto, senior in LAS and treasurer of ACA, also added that the organization is not limited to African students. 

“(ACA) brings people who don’t necessarily feel like they have a voice,” Aderinto said. “It’s not exclusive to Africans. It’s more of a social organization (with) different outreach programs.” 

However, Umardeen said ACA has faced challenges bouncing back from the pandemic because the previous leadership graduated. 

“This is our comeback,” Umardeen said. “We didn’t understand what ACA was like before we got here because we were freshmen, and we saw a few months before (COVID-19) started and (then) had to leave campus. We’re trying to rebuild that, trying to bring back old traditions and old programs we used to have.” 

ACA is in the midst of planning several events, including a Date Auction fundraiser in February and Afrovybes, a showcase of different African cultural traditions through dance, acting and modeling held in late April. 

Even though many ACA members are West African, Aderinto said that the organization represents all cultures in Africa by bringing awareness to different countries every week and staying updated on current events. 

Umardeen agreed, noting that health care is a commonly covered topic. 

“Vaccines coming to our countries was a big deal because we don’t have the best access to health care,” Umardeen said. “We’re all aware of that just because our parents are first generation straight from Africa.” 

According to Godwin Olaleye, sophomore in LAS, ACA also frequently hosts guest speakers who discuss issues such as racial disparities and undocumented immigrants. 

“It is a big part of ACA to tackle those bigger problems that the world is facing right now,” Olaleye said.


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