By Ellen Garnett
Simmons recently welcomed two new affinity organizations, the African-Caribbean Student Union (ACSU) and the Multiracial Advocacy and Relations at Simmons (MARS), to join the community. On Feb. 8, the Student Government Association (SGA) approved these two groups to become official organizations on campus.
Affinity organizations “fall under the oversight of Diversity and Inclusion and they have a seat on the Judicial Cabinet,” according to SGA. Although these groups fall under the same umbrella of diversity and inclusion, they each have different purposes and missions.
“The main goal of ACSU is simple: to educate the Simmons Community, as well as others in the Boston area, on what it’s like to have African and/or Caribbean cultural roots,” said Raeniqua Victorine, vice president of ACSU. “Our organization will also act as a safe space for African/Caribbean students at Simmons as well as the other Colleges of the Fenway.”
Victorine noted her own personal reasons for wanting to start a new club on campus.
“I decided to help begin this organization because, from the moment I walked through the doors of the MCB, I knew that I was a part of a special minority,” said Victorine. “There are not many people at Simmons who understand what I experienced first hand as someone born and raised in the Caribbean. I feel that it is extremely important for people to learn about my culture and to have a taste what it really means to be from the U.S. Virgin Islands, as well as the Caribbean and Africa in general.”
ASCU plans on hosting events such as potlucks to teach through tastebuds, as well as African/Caribbean movie nights to use cinema as an entryway for learning about culture.
The second new organization, the Multiracial Advocacy and Relations at Simmons (MARS), also wishes to engage Simmons students by holding panels and hosting speakers to increase awareness of problems faced by the multiracial student body.
“As an e-board, we feel that there is a strong need for a space where students who identify with those identities are able to share their experiences and feel a sense of community,” said Vanessa Burns, co-president of MARS. “We plan to provide students with exactly that. Another one of our major goals is to supply Simmons students with education about the issues pressing the multiracial community.”
To learn more about MARS and ACSU and how to get involved, check out these organizations on Facebook. Keep an eye out for any upcoming MARS and ACSU events on campus.