Minority student organizations say they’ve met most of their semester goals

Regina Garcia Cano

For some organizations, Fall 2008 is a mission accomplished.

Executive board members of Black United Students, PRIDE!Kent and KSU-NAACP believe their organizations met this semester’s goals.

At the beginning of the semester, BUS President Ashley Tolliver said the organization’s goals for this semester were to increase freshman and sophomore leadership on campus, have a more inclusive constituency in meetings and create programming for the 2008 presidential election.

“This semester was very successful,” BUS Vice President Ondia Butler said. “Working with the (Barack) Obama campaign gave us the opportunity to work with other organizations we wouldn’t have worked with instead.

“We’ve been able to keep ties with them and establish a dialogue.”

BUS worked with student groups such as College Democrats, PRIDE!Kent, Muslim Student Association and Hillel, among others for the Obama campaign.

But Butler said the organization was not able to draw a more diverse constituency.

“It is something that has not really changed; it has maintained the same way,” she said. “Our meetings are open to the public; everyone is welcome to come and hopefully different people, different faces will be willing to come.”

Butler said BUS’s executive board has scheduled between two to three weekly activities for February in celebration of Black History Month. The organization will also collaborate with the Pan-African studies department during the Pan-African Festival.

For PRIDE!Kent Secretary Kat Rybski, the group’s most important accomplishment was building a stronger community.

“We have a lot of people showing up to every single meeting,” Rybski said. “People just don’t hang out in PRIDE, but they go out after the meeting.”

This semester the organization held different educational programs in an attempt to teach its membership about the diversity that exists within the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

“We made sure that we involved everyone,” Rybski said. “We had good discussions to educate that we are not the same. We are not cookie-cut gay; you can’t really have stereotypes.”

PRIDE!Kent Treasurer Trae Ruscin said now the organization should work hard to keep its momentum.

“We have to keep it fun, informational and educational,” he said.

Next semester PRIDE!Kent will host the Rainbow Graduation to celebrate graduating seniors.

For this fall, KSU-NAACP President Whitney Smith said the organization had planned to promote community building, health awareness and voter registration.

“We were able to accomplish community building and voter registration,” Smith said.

The group failed to put in place its health awareness campaign, but she said it will be celebrated in March because of Women’s Month.

Smith said KSU-NAACP will try to reach out to communities in Cleveland and Akron, and throughout Portage County during the spring semester.

She said the group will take part in the second annual Founders Day celebration that will commemorate the 100th anniversary of NAACP at a national level.

Contact minority affairs reporter Regina Garcia Cano at [email protected].