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Students Organized: UMOJA

November 10, 2017

Lily Guillen / The Courier

Monmouth College has plenty of student organizations and extracurricular activities to get involved with. With almost too many to keep track of, we want to highlight the purpose and ambitions of each group, in hopes to spread recognition and information so in the future more Scots can join in the fun!

In the spotlight this week is UMOJA, meaning ‘unity’ in Swahili. This organization aims to educate the campus on black culture through history and current events in order to spread diversity and provide opportunities to unify people of varying ethnic backgrounds. President Kayla Adams simply states “most generally, UMOJA allows for black voices to be heard on a predominantly white campus.”

Despite the organization’s members being predominantly black, Adams wants to make it clear that UMOJA is an organization “that is open to everyone on campus, it is not just a ‘black club.’” Together, their efforts are to increase acceptance for one another by understanding each other. They do so by showing others commonalities and acknowledging beauty in difference, in congruence with other cultural groups on campus.

UMOJA hosts several events on campus that help fundraise for their organization as well as spreading valuable information to students on campus. In February, the group sells Crush soda the week prior to Valentine’s Day. With an attached note, it can be delivered to a love interest, friend, or crush on the special day. Also in February, UMOJA celebrates Black History Month by inviting students, faculty, and staff from Monmouth and surrounding schools to be a part of breakout sessions to educate thepublic about black history and culture. Sessions have included topics of Hair, Black Diaspora, Alumni Connections and Black Literature. UMOJA invites various educators like English professor David Wright and Knox College visiting instructor of Africana Studies, Kwame Zulu Shabazz. In addition, UMOJA is sure to recognize Kwanzaa, a celebration of African heritage. Prior to winter break, they dedicate one day to honor all seven days of the holiday, by acknowledging each individual day, like kuumba, meaning creativity and kujichagulia, or self-determination.

This past weekend, UMOJA hosted their first ever Pie-A-Professor. For 50 cents, attendees of the homecoming football game were able to purchase a pie and use it to pie volunteer professors. Supervised by Regina Johnson, Trudi Peterson, and Jonathan Coley, meetings take place every Wednesday at8 PM in the Tartan Room. Each meeting consists of a hot topic discussion where the executive board chooses a topic of current events or history in order to engage members while planning future events.

Tessa Jones
Features Editor

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