African Student Association educates students on African culture and issues

Suffolk University is widely known for its diverse student population. One of its selling points to potential students is that the school is composed of a tapestry of cultures from all corners of the world. Unfortunately, many domestic students never take advantage of the opportunities given to them to learn about different places, people and cultures that surround them every day.

The goal of the African Student Association (ASA) is to do just that. “We want to promote African cultures and values amongst the Suffolk community, and to raise awareness about Africa as a continent containing many different cultures, ethnicities, and languages,” said Allan Ekpitini, president of the ASA. Ekpitini, a management major from the Ivory Coast currently in his junior year, came to Suffolk’s Boston campus in 2011 when the Dakar campus was shut down.

The group also looks to promote African culture within the city, working closely with other local chapters of the ASA, a state-wide organization. Schools like Bridgewater State and Northeastern also have chapters. Next month, the ASA dance team will be performing at an African night event at Northeastern.

The highlight of the ASA’s spring semester will be the gala they are holding at the law school on March 21. The gala will be a fundraiser to promote awareness on African issues.

“The goal of the event is to raise awareness on one particular subject we targeted this year, which is education. We realize that being part of the Suffolk community, and Suffolk being one of the biggest and best schools in Boston, its only normal that we as privileged Africans lay a hand out to the people who are still facing some little issues back on the continent,” Ekpitini said. He went on to elaborate about what he meant by “little issues,” saying that things we see as minor in America actually have a huge effect on the ability of many Africans to gain an education. Problems like a lack of maintained roads, and for females, limited access to even the most basic feminine hygiene products, make it difficult for many Africans to attend school.

The ASA should not be confused with the Action Africa Alliance (AAA). Another student group on campus, the AAA works closely with the ASA. They both aim to increase awareness on African issues around campus and in Boston, but through different means. “We have the same goal but don’t use the same methods. We both want to educate people about Africa, let everyone know what Africa really is [because] a lot of people don’t, especially here,” Ekpitini said. While the ASA looks to raise awareness by educating people about African culture and society, the goal of the AAA is to promote investment in the African economy, which they hope can lead to positive change on the continent.

The ASA is open for anyone who is interested in learning about African culture. “You are welcome to come, whenever you want. Whenever we have an event,” Ekpitini said. To keep up with the latest ASA news and events, like them on Facebook.