Keilah Davis | Correspondent

The Afrikan American Student Advisory Council (AASAC) serves as the umbrella organization for African American student organizations and as a liaison to university administration. Johnia Murray a sophomore studying psychology has been elected to be the 2016-2017 chair, with Bria Swann, a junior studying nutrition science as the AASAC vice chair elect.

AASAC also focuses on the academic, professional, and leadership development of student leaders. This year, AASAC tackled various issues, including mental health. They brought in representatives from Student Health Services and each of the AASAC organizations were trained in suicide prevention.

Breanna Powell, a senior studying social work and the current AASAC chair, said, “We wanted to put a focus on mental health and I do think we accomplished that goal.”

Additionally, AASAC has class representatives who work closely with the executive board as liaisons for their respective classes. This year, class representatives were much more involved and had more defined roles than previous years.

“The class representatives actually got to see what it’s like to be on the [executive] board,” said Swann.

While the organization has improved in many areas, current leaders still faced some challenges. AASAC lost its advisor at the beginning of the academic year. Additionally, Powell noticed that significant apathy restricted AASAC’s effectiveness. “You can’t receive support from people that feel apathetic towards [our] purpose,” said Murray.

Murray and Swann have big goals for AASAC next year. They hope to create a culture that promotes a collective “give-and-take” relationship between AASAC and its member organizations. “AASAC serves a great purpose here on campus. The fact that many [organization] leaders don’t see that [purpose] any more is very problematic,” said Powell.

The new AASAC executive board would also like to encourage more collaboration among their organizations beyond the usual fraternity and sorority partnerships.

Their final major goal for next year is an increased campus presence. Both Murray and Swann want to see AASAC reaching its full potential.

“All organizations need to be ready to be fully engaged this upcoming year,” said Swann. “We’re going to work really hard to bring back the full purpose of AASAC.”