The African Student Association at the University of Indianapolis’ was formed in September of 2022 to allow African cultures to be embraced in a predominantly white institution and to educate those that are not of African descent, according to junior political science major and President of the ASA Oluyemisi Kareem.
According to Kareem, she formed the club due to disappointment from the lack of student organizations
geared toward African students. Kareem said she spoke with people about how the organization could be created which led to the formation of the ASA.
“To me, ASA is having a community here on campus that caters more to the African people of Indianapolis,” Kareem said. “It gives people the space to be their true, authentic selves.”
The ASA helps students of African descent who feel uncomfortable speaking to their professors about academic or outside-the-classroom matters, according to junior public health major and Secretary for the ASA Hélène Lutumika. Lutumika said when the ASA was formed, she asked Kareem if she could join which led to her becoming a member.
“When I started school here in 2020, there was no African organization, and I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I felt like I didn’t belong because I didn’t know any of the American songs,” Lutumika said. “If there was an ASA where I knew they were going to play African songs, then it would have been better if I was surrounded by people who understood me.”
Board member positions are geared towards African and African-American students according to Kareem, but all are welcome to attend events. As president, Kareem said she oversees ASA events and keeps in contact with other college and university ASAs so groups can collaborate across schools.
“The main mission of ASA is to educate those who don’t come from a traditional African background and to allow people to know that there are differences within Africa but that we are one as a whole,” Kareem said.
Kareem said she hopes to see more involvement from the UIndy community and that those that want to learn more about the association and its purpose, to discuss culture can come to ASA events. The ASA will be hosting an upcoming event on Feb. 15 titled “Nollywood Night” according to Kareem and the event will be an African movie night where people can come and see what African film is like in comparison to American film.
“A long-term goal would be to find a freshman or sophomore that has the same passion as I do to take over so that there’s always a continuance of the
ASA presence here at UIndy,” Kareem said.