Updated: Jun 7
Senior Soziema Dauda was born in Nashville but spent most of her childhood in Ghana– the country her dad is from.
Dauda is now the president and founder of the African Students Organization at Belmont.
“We just saw that there was not really representation of Africa and the African culture on campus. So, we spoke to each other about starting this, this club that basically promotes diversity, equity and inclusion," Dauda said.
The club was started last year by Dauda and vice president Tiobista Kidane.
Students of all cultures are encouraged to attend. For Jakiya Adams, ASO gave her the space to learn about countries she didn’t know much about before.
“African culture isn't something that's in our curriculum growing up. I love learning about other people's culture. So, like, food, their fashion, just like their customs and norms and things,” Adams said. “It's really nice to see and hear about other people's experiences.”
They hold bi-monthly meetings and several events throughout the semester to engage students.
“We did an event last semester, it was called Battle of the Rice’s where a bunch of different countries came with their rice,” Dauda said.
There was rice from Ghana, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Middle East. The event was intended to remind students about the diversity of culture within African countries.
“Food is definitely one of the ways in which we can represent culture,” ASO advisor Heather Finch said. “All of us have very specific things that come from our communities and often it's a wonderful gateway of connecting human beings.”