ABC looking for a fresh start

By Samantha George

Photo by Nicole Maselli/ The Lafayette

ABC is trying to increase its membership and number of events. Next semester, the organization will share its Farinon office with the Hispanic Society of Lafayette (HSL), since HSL does not currently have an office.
ABC is trying to increase its membership and number of events. Next semester, the organization will share its Farinon office with the Hispanic Society of Lafayette (HSL), since HSL does not currently have an office.

After “dwindling” in motivation and numbers, the Association of Black Collegians (ABC) is revamping their program to become more active in the community.

According to President Robert Young ‘14, the past years were a little rough.

“ABC as an organization was dwindling, and a sense of just pride for the organization and the lack of membership, the lack of programs — everything. People felt like ABC was obsolete,” he said.

This past summer, he and the other officers — all but two of whom are sophomores — mapped out a plan to rejuvenate the organization.

“It’s an interesting dynamic … because you have Breyon [Brown ‘12] and Autumn [Green ‘13] who’ve seen the past years of ABC, and then you have the sophomores who didn’t like what it was last year, but definitely want to … make it better this year,” he said. “Because that’s why you run for anything — to change what you don’t like.”

“Our main goal this year is to revive ABC from previous years,” Co-public Relations officer Danyelle Smith ‘14 said. “Also, we’re hoping to create a strong member base and regain a strong presence of campus as well. But, most importantly, provide a welcoming black community.”

Young and Green said that ABC is hosting more events in conjunction with other organizations, like Landis, QuEST and the Hispanic Society of Lafayette (HSL), as well as participating in community service projects in Easton.

“We want to continue an equal balance of social, cultural and academic events on campus, and we want to create and maintain relationships with other Black Student Unions and ABC’s in the Lehigh Valley area to collaborate and make our events bigger,” said Green, who is the Vice President of ABC.

Earlier in November, ABC held an event with Lehigh’s Black Student Union called “Bridging the Gap.”

“‘Bridging the Gap’ is an opportunity [where] African American student groups in surrounding colleges can connect and meet and share ideas,” Smith said. She added that the groups discussed the “importance of black student continued from page 1

groups on predominately white campuses.”

According to Treasurer Abdul Dopson ‘14, events have played a major role in revitalizing the group. Other activities have included a welcome-back barbeque, the Troy Davis brown bag, their “Grown and Sexy” event at The Spot and ABC’s first annual Thanksgiving dinner.

ABC also sponsored the first Cultural Cook-off in October with Hillel, HSL and the International Students Association (ISA).

“It was a great turnout. A lot of Greek life — a lot of people that honestly wouldn’t mesh well with those organizations or don’t do anything with those organizations came out and really got to know what the organizations were about,” Young said.

“That was a great networking opportunity,” he continued, “for these cultural organizations who are outside of a bigger picture to now be in that circle — to really bridge with Greek life, athletes — students who just don’t really hang out with those organizations.”

To foster an even greater connection, ABC will begin sharing its Farinon office with HSL next semester. According to Young, he felt that HSL, which currently does not have an office, was ignored, and asked HSL President Jiselle Peralta ‘13 and Associate Dean of Students Pam Brewer if the two groups could share an office.

Young estimates that about 50 to 80 people consistently participate in events, although their actual list of members is greater. Still, this is a higher number than previous years.

“We have created and maintained consistency throughout the year and are much better at keeping the interest of our members,” Green said.

In particular, ABC is making sure they devote time to first year students. According to Young, there is a greater effort to have underclassmen and upperclassmen bond. ABC had a meeting to teach those students how to register for classes. To help them decide on courses, they keep a rolodex of the classes that members have taken in the past, their opinions of those courses and whether they have textbooks.

“In previous years, there’s been a lack of motivation and a lack of drive, and this year we’re getting to the freshmen to show them what ABC was and where we’re trying to go,” Young said.

“It’s just really, really [about] bringing, not only the student body back together, but also the community,” he said.