Ouachita students and alumni gathered together for a Multi-Cultural Meet-Up in the alumni room on Sept. 23 to celebrate culture and discuss different ways to bridge the gap found in today’s society.differences that may occur.
The event was hosted by The Black American Student Society (B.A.S.S.), which was founded on Ouachita’s campus in 1968 as an outlet for black students experiencing segregation. While the organization is no longer active on campus with students, OBU alumni still meet up to discuss ideas possible for those still on campus.
Jon Merryman, director of alumni, aided in the planning of the event.
“The Black American Student Society wanted a chance to network with and encourage multicultural students. While we have many students from many cultures and nations on our campus, approximately 14 percent are considered minority or multicultural,” Merryman said. “We needed to assist the B.A.S.S. Alumni Association in their efforts to reach out and encourage these students.”
Approximately 20 students attended, as well as the hosts of the B.A.S.S. and other alumni.
“Alumni came to campus with the hope of motivating more students to join the organization and help each other during our college experience,” senior marketing and management double major from Lewisville, Vanesha Sasser said. “The organization is not only for African American students. Its purpose is to support and bring awareness to the cultural differences and help each other grow during our time at Ouachita. I felt the event was an important outlet for students today, especially with the events that have been occurring in the news.”
“Every culture is different. Some things are the same, but every person deserves to be respected and treated equally. Knowing more about the cultures and people around us will allow us to better accept one another as well as others in the future,” Sasser said. “This type of education is something missing in most private universities. I am really glad that Ouachita offers an organization like this that is always seeking to educate and bring unity to our community.”
“I think organizations, like the B.A.S.S., are important in that they not only help students to mingle with different cultures, but allow everyone to appreciate the differences,” Merryman said. “Ultimately, they bring people together to make diverse connections and friendships.”
The event was held in a round-table discussion style. Attendees were able to discuss future ideas to bring to Ouachita, as well as struggles they have experienced with the current state of the nation.
As an active alumni association of Ouachita, B.A.S.S. gathers every year or two for a large reunion and to donate to help multicultural students.
“They are currently working on gathering enough money and getting everything set up with the development offices to start awarding and distributing these funds to students,” Merryman said.
This information was significant to Sasser.
“There are some financial aid opportunities that are specifically for people of color and B.A.S.S. actually gives a scholarship each year. I know that is not something everyone knows, but any student that is a minority can apply for this scholarship. I really feel that needs to be known, and hopefully taken advantage of by students in years to come,” Sasser said.
Through the event, B.A.S.S. encouraged all students to take part in creating a strong community together, regardless of background or cultural heritage.
“This organization can educate our campus and allow us all to better understand and accept our differences while still supporting the Ouachita community we come from and love,” said Sasser.
The Black American Student Association will be on campus again throughout the homecoming weekend, Oct. 14-15. A drop-in tent will be set up at OcTiger Fest on Saturday, Oct. 15, and an alumni reunion will follow the football game in the alumni room.
By: Abbey Little, Staff Writer