AASA welcomes back school year with BBQ

Posted Sept. 22, 2006

The African-American Student Alliance held their first Welcome Black Barbecue Wednesday in the Mosaic Cultural Institute backyard.

ULV students, faculty, staff and alumni from all racial backgrounds came to support the event.

The barbecue gave the ULV family a chance to eat delicious hot dogs and hamburgers, listen to good music and mingle with others.

“Black students on campus don’t feel welcome when entering ULV so we planned to have the BBQ to make them feel at home,” said Ashley Johnson, a junior psychology major and president of AASA.

The event was two hours long and it started off with a welcome speech given by Byron Howlett, AASA adviser and the director of housing and residential life.

“Our mission and our purpose is to serve African-Americans and folks that aren’t African-Americans,” said Howlett.

Some of the board members from AASA introduced themselves and afterwards participants in the event were asked to tell everyone else a little about themselves.

Despite the name, everyone was welcome to the Welcome Black Barbecue regardless of their ethnicity.

According to Johnson, the name of the event came from an idea at University of California, Berkeley and AASA wanted African-Americans on campus to know there are events that recognize them too.

“We wanted African-Americans to know that this event was for them, but it is also an event where people can get to know each other for support and friendship before and after college,” said Bjorn Biggles, a senior multimedia major and vice president of AASA.

The barbecue was planned and implemented during the summer at the Black Student Faculty retreat with the help of ULV faculty.

AASA meets once a week and holds big events once a month. Smaller events are also held every other week.

“We put on poetry nights, throwback cinemas, soul food dinners, and the Black Student Faculty retreat,” Johnson said.

“We don’t hear a lot about black events and AASA wanted African American students to see that there is people at ULV just like them,” said Michael Worrell, a junior business major and AASA spokesman.

There were numerous reasons people came to the barbecue from offering support to more fundamental reasons.

“I’m just here to support and I’m hungry,” said Melvin Ward, a senior theatre arts major. “I’m not a part of it because I have no time but when I have time I support AASA.”

The event gave University of La Verne students a chance to sign up for AASA, Brothers Forum and/or Sister Circle.

AASA promotes appreciation and acknowledgement of the black history and culture while also promoting awareness and diversity.

All ULV students are welcome to join AASA regardless of racial background.

Telon Weathington can be reached at tweathington@ulv.edu.

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