Edinburgh African Caribbean Society
University of Essex
We are the African Caribbean Society.
However, our identity is a lot more than that label. We are a community of people who come together to celebrate the many diverse and beautiful cultures that we love and appreciate. Whether that stems from hosting lit events, chilled nights in, spearheading the Black History Month celebrations or more academically-orientated events like (thought-provoking and/or controversial) discussion panels; there is always a plethora of experiences on offer, so EVERYONE feels included.
Inclusivity and visibility are our main objectives this year because we believe that the key purpose of a community is to make people feel comfortable, connected and safe. It doesn’t matter what shade, colour, nationality, sexuality, gender or religion you are because we already accept YOU regardless. We want to leave a legacy at this institution and make sure that our members are truly SEEN and HEARD in any matters that are relevant to our whole community and individual members. We also want all of our non-African/Caribbean peers to feel welcome at our events and be able to celebrate with us.
Our theme for 2020/21 is "levelling the playing field" we want our members to have access to resources,events and a network that gives them what they need to prosper. We realise how marginalised and left out some of our members feel and e wanted to commit ourselves to bridging that gap. "Levelling up" does not only apply to academics or career paths but it's also about improving your spiritual,mental and physical health. We will be doing events centered on well being and making sure our members are catered to in every way possible.
At university, you will meet people from all over the world; people who have similar life experiences to you and those whose life journey could not be more contrary to your own. This is a key reflection of the real world and at ACS, we aim to provide an environment where these diverse backgrounds can feel at home and celebrated. In addition to this fundamental aim, we use this opportunity to help you meet new people and make some (life-long) friends along the way.
Being in Edinburgh, in particular, brings a new set of challenges along the way. Not only do we face super cold weather and long travel times but there is also a startling lack of diversity – perhaps more than you would expect from the outset. Many people shy away from this fact but it very much true and we at ACS are willing to shed light on this issue as well as work in partnership with the relevant University departments to combat this problem. Unfortunately, in figures released by The Sunday Times, Edinburgh University had the lowest percentage intake for black students out of all Russell Group universities in the 2015/16 academic year - at just 0.7 per cent - which further substantiates the importance and necessity of ACS and moreover, encourages us to utilise our community as a tool to instigate lasting and impactful change. Every member unknowingly contributes to the solution since we are increasing representation and acting as role models for prospective students. As a result, it is so important to have groups like this, to remind us all that diversity, representation, and cultural appreciation matters!
What do we aim to do?
This year ACS plans on using the foundations we were provided from our previous committees to elevate the status and outreach of this society. We aim to provide weekly content for our members and followers on our various social media platforms and keep our events as engaging and often as possible; we’re keeping the FIRE alive this year! Make sure to follow and support this community and the movements we are hoping to generate this year. We are here to show you that we are more than just a group of young students but a community for ALL. Consequently, we look to branch out and work in collaboration with other societies within our university as well as other ACS groups and companies to equip our members with the very best university experience as possible.
We are further hoping to establish a new committee role of ACS Pastoral Officer (hopefully with the support and guidance of the Edinburgh University Students’ Association) whose remit will be in promoting the positive mental health of all of our members. This will also involve dealing with related issues such as assimilation, homesickness, discrimination and isolation.
Ultimately, we aim to leave an imprint upon those we encounter and establish a space for individuals to grow into the talented and amazing people they are and will continue to be. In essence, we aim to empower our members and entire African and Caribbean community; celebrate our achievements, heritage and cultures and permanently engrave our prestigious legacy at this institution; and finally, pave the way for those after us to enable them to thrive and outdo us in every way.
Overall, ACS has touched the lives of many and we want to continue upholding that legacy. Whether that is through friendships, fun memories or lifechanging opportunities, our underlying aim is to provide the best for our members!
‘Power, Prestige, Progress’