Many students have complained about the lack of participation from African-American students within the clubs and organizations in the African-American community. Some say that the underclassmen are lazy and do not care. Others say that it is too hard to balance school work and clubs, and since school should always come first, they do not participate in clubs.
However, the issue still remains that the African-American population here at North Carolina State is higher than ever and participation in organizations is at an all time low. Perhaps the reason for this problem is social dynamics of the African-American community. It is time to take a look inside the African-American community and ask if the students are failing the clubs, or if the clubs are actually failing the students. I have interviewed three students; all are African-Americans.
Crystal Pryde and Amanda Spruill, both sophomores in animal science, feel that the organizations are not carrying out their purposes to the best of their abilities. Pryde said that it bothers her that there aren’t more black organizations participating in campus wide service projects like the Martin Luther King Service Day and Krispy Kreme Challenge.
Spruill said that she feels like the clubs are not really helping the community, and that many of the programs are like popularity contests. Both feel that these clubs are not doing enough to help the entire student body here at N.C. State. Pryde said she would be more inclined to be involved if the organizations did more community service, such as canned food drives and more tutoring and mentoring for local high school students, and more service to the student community.
For example, Spruill suggested that the modeling troupes do hair and makeup workshops. Amanda suggested that more people would come to the programs if part of the money charged goes to charities. Both also agreed that the clubs should hold more fun, social events, such as bowling or movie nights, and some of the money made from that could go to charity as well.
Todd Farris, a senior in sports management said he is not more involved because he does not agree with the premises for some programs. He feels that many programs are reminiscent of popularity contests and are executed on a high school level.
For him, it seems as if many students are involved in these clubs because they want to look good (maybe they want to impress Greek organizations, or maybe they want something to put on their resume). As a result of this, Farris feels many of these people do not have the good of the entire community in mind.Farris does not feel that the clubs are fulfilling their purposes; he does not see how they help and serve the black student body.
He said it seems as if the African-American clubs are a way to organize cliques, stating, “if any of the organizations were asked to stand alone and represent the whole black community on campus, they would have a very hard time – they couldn’t. There are plenty of minorities that don’t know anything about the black organizations.”
Farris said the reason for this is because the clubs do not make a great enough effort to reach outside of their cliques or the groups of people that they know. Farris is a transfer student from Georgia Southern University, and while he was there, he was a member of the Black Student Alliance. He said he would like to see the clubs here do more professional workshops and community service with local schools.
One of the most prevalent themes in these interviews is that these students feel the programs are popularity contests. Another is that the clubs need to do more that would benefit the whole community here at State, and more charity based activities.
This article was in no way an attempt to put down these clubs, just an opportunity for students who may be overlooked by these organizations to voice their opinions. Hopefully this will give a starting point for the African-American organizations, and hopefully they will improve based on the comments made in this article.