Conestoga news

February 22, 2024 2:07 PM

Welcome event brings students together for Black History Month

Conestoga’s African, Black, and Caribbean (ABC) Student Committee, in collaboration with Student Engagement and eKhaya Specialty Garden, hosted a welcome event on February 9 at the college’s Kitchener - Downtown campus that attracted more than 80 students.

The ABC Student Committee, in collaboration with Student Engagement, hosted a welcome event on February 9 that celebrated Black history and heritage.

The event takes place each term as part of Orientation activities, but during the winter term, it is held in February to commemorate Black History Month.

Themed Art and Creativity in Blackness, guests were invited to explore art, literature, music and poetry from the Black community. Other features included an interactive performance by guest speaker and writer Adwoa Badoe, cakes decorated with positive cultural affirmations from The Dessert Artist, and food from The Caribbean Kitchen.

In addition to celebrating Black history, accomplishments and resilience, the event also offers a chance for students to network and learn about the supports and resources available that are specifically geared to Black students and the Black community at Conestoga and within Waterloo Region. Students can refer to this list of available resources for more information.

Celebrating diversity within the Black community was an additional theme central to the event.

“Students who belong to this community have to tie into their culture and also bring themselves together, get to know each other, and accept each other,” said Adesua Odigie, student ambassador and member of the ABC Student Advisory Group that works in partnership with the ABC Student Committee and Student Engagement.

“We’re looking at Africans and Caribbeans and we’re bringing that diversity in.”

Moses Oyakhilome, a first-year student from Nigeria, agrees.  

“There’s a growing Nigerian community in Kitchener-Waterloo, but it’s about more than just meeting Nigerians,” said Oyakhilome. “You need to meet other people from the African, Black, and Caribbean community and understand their culture, make friends, and learn new things from them.”

The ABC Student Committee consists of 11 student volunteers who meet in the fall and winter terms to plan the winter welcome and Black History Month event. Participation on the committee enhances leadership skills and provides personal and professional networking opportunities and community belonging.

Conestoga’s Student Engagement team meets the needs of students through innovative programming designed to achieve goals with learning outcomes-based initiatives, including the Co-curricular Record, Orientation, Diversity and Inclusion, the Connect Leadership Workshop Series, and various student volunteer and committee opportunities.