New club hopes to ‘improve the world’

A club on Northern Kentucky University’s campus says it has a big plan to improve the world–or at least, NKU’s campus.

The African American Studies Club formed in fall 2005 to advocate for an African American Studies major, a field of study the club thinks will help form intelligent students who can look around and become problem solvers.

Besides promoting a major in African American Studies, the club founders say they want to promote scholarship and endorse participation in civic engagement.

Senior Jon Stone leads the club, which is currently comprised of 30 students.

“Education is supposed to be about being better,” Stone said.

“(It’s about) producing students that think critically about the world around them.”

Stone, who transferred to NKU from the University of Cincinnati, emphasized the importance of having an African American Studies major because of the increase of diversity it allows an individual to bring into a workplace.

“Instead of learning obscure facts, you really come out with a better understanding of the world and how society is and what to do about it,” said Stone.

Dr. Michael Washington, faculty advisor for the club and director of African American Studies, agrees.

“(We are) not talking about race, but understanding the culture and how it relates to larger society,” he said.

Currently, NKU offers a minor for African American Studies, but the club is asking the university to create a major for those students who wish to further their knowledge of the African American culture in psychology, social sciences, political science and other fields.

Washington elaborated on the importance of offering fields of study where individuals can receive training in different cultures and have knowledge of the cognitive behavior and learning patterns within those cultures.

Stone and Washington said it is extremely important to them that the club develops scholars and thinkers who can deal with society’s problems.

In addition to working toward offering a major in their field, the club is also concerned with civic engagement.

The club wants to put together a program in which NKU students mentor high school students who come from schools with low literacy rates.

Washington said that if he sees a problem he feels compelled to try and fix it.

“If it’s not right, then it’s wrong,” he said. “And it injures humanity and it injures me because I didn’t do anything about it.”

By focusing on scholarships, civic engagement and the creation of a new major, the African American Studies club hopes that it will allow students to do what they feel is right.