Group boosts funds with buttons

Ellen Kirtner

Campus and community work to increase student opportunities

A group of both campus and community members have united to find the financial means to provide new educational experiences for Pan-African Studies students and faculty.

The group’s first initiative is the sale of wearable buttons that say “Friend of PAS,” initials standing for Pan-African Studies. They are available at the front desk of the Pan-African Studies department.

“The whole idea is to raise money for Pan-African Studies students and faculties to attend conferences,” said Wendy Wilson-Fall, chair of the Pan-African Studies department.

Wilson-Fall said a similar idea had been presented in the past, but it had not built much momentum. She decided to try to start the fundraising project this semester.

Wilson-Fall said about forty individuals attended the first organizational meeting, including students, faculty and recent graduates from the Pan-African Studies program.

Though it is not an official university organization, Wilson-Fall said many student groups have shown interest in getting involved with the fundraising to help provide opportunities to attend conferences and presentations.

“A lot of (student organizations) don’t actually have money to go to these things,” she said.

Wilson-Fall said she hopes to see a system in place where students can apply to attend conferences with these funds and give presentations on what they learned in return.

She said the project also has the potential to provide for receptions for speakers visiting the department.

The group also has plans to expand fundraising efforts in the future and work with the department’s art committee to create wearable items based on the large pieces of art in Oscar Ritchie Hall, Wilson-Fall said.

Along with these efforts, the group is collaborating with local businesses to provide these new experiences for faculty and students.

Wilson-Fall said students interested in working with the Friends of Pan-African Studies should leave their name and contact information with the student workers in the Pan-African

Studies main office to be notified about the next meeting.

Contact Ellen Kirtner at [email protected].