The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 26th

Campus Africa Network connects student organizations with Africa

Seniors Etiti Akhame-Ayeni(left), global studies major/art history minor, and Khadija Niang (right), global studies major, and Junior economics major Wilma Mallya (middle),  are the co-founders of CAN, or Campus Africa Network. They are a newly formed group on campus that is working to, "join together all the African groups on campus to create one central hub," Etiti Akhame-Ayenisaid.
Buy Photos Seniors Etiti Akhame-Ayeni(left), global studies major/art history minor, and Khadija Niang (right), global studies major, and Junior economics major Wilma Mallya (middle), are the co-founders of CAN, or Campus Africa Network. They are a newly formed group on campus that is working to, "join together all the African groups on campus to create one central hub," Etiti Akhame-Ayenisaid.

Started last semester, Campus Africa Network is a student-led initiative that hopes to help UNC broaden its horizon.

Although Campus Africa Network isn’t a part of the Campus Y, the group received grant money from the Campus Y to start a new initiative that will help bring the other groups realted to Africa together.

“We felt that there was disconnection between student organizations that are Africa related,” said Etiti Ayeni, co-director and outreach coordinator of Campus Africa Network. “A lot of these are smaller initiatives so they are much more isolated and detached.”

“We felt we needed to address that issue to try to bring them all together to talk about the work that people do on the continent, current affairs.”

Ayeni noticed that events which hosted speakers from Africa had high attendance from graduate students and professors rather than undergraduate students.

Wilma Mallya, co-director of the group, said increasing awareness was one of her goals.

“We want to create something that can inclusively come together, exchange ideas and highlight work that’s being done so people can have a clear understanding of Africa,” she said.

Many of the members of Campus Africa Network are also international students and are making connections with people in Africa — for example, their co-founder is currently interning in Senegal.

“This truly is about making connections,” Ayeni said.

Not only will this initiative help the general campus, it will also provide a support group for international students.

“It was hard for me to adjust during my first year because I had to adjust to the rigorous academic environment, the people and the weather,” said junior Moradesola Bola-Oyeledun.

“The key to adjusting is finding a great support system and a good solid group of friends, especially international students you can relate to,” he said.

Bola-Oyeledun said this initiative will help because there are not many African students who are actually international students here.

The Campus Africa Network is planning on hosting events this upcoming March and April, as well as partner with groups such as Project Heel, World Micro-Market and GlobeMed.

The organizers of the group also plan to bring a faculty member to talk about their work in Africa and make it interactive for students. Ayeni wants students to think critically about the work that is happening in Afirca.

“We teach people through educating,” said Ayeni. “We want to make this a lasting presence on campus.”

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