Diversity is a big part of the post-secondary community, specifically with international enrollment increasing in Canada. However, diversity doesn’t only include international students, as peers alike have immigrated to Canada at a young age or grew up in a family as first or second generation Canadians. For this, Brock University is home to many diverse events.
Brock East African Students’ Association – one of the many diverse groups on campus – concluded their year of events in late March, as BEASA continues to be a growing group on campus.
“Last year was a very hype year. Everybody was trying to be everywhere,” said Azuhura Msofe. “This year we were able to collect all of that hype and really focus it on the events we really want to associate BEASA with.”
Msofe was the President of BEASA for 2017/18, and spoke about how the clubs Open Mic Night (which happens in the fall semester) and its Furaha event (which happens in the winter semester) were the two events they wanted attached to BEASA.
“When people think of BEASA, [we want] people to think of those two events,” explained Msofe.
Furaha was an event that took place at Isaac’s Bar & Grill, and was about bringing both East Africans and non-East Africans together to celebrate culture. The event included food, specifically from Tanzania – a country in East Africa – while also allowing people to get fancy, enjoy some entertainment and games, and awards were handed out as well, such as best dressed.
“We had a diverse range of entertainers because East Africa is a huge place – a huge land mass – and it has a lot of diverse people and we wanted to showcase that,” said Msofe.
While many performances stood out throughout the night, Msofe was quick to speak about the performance from Stretch (real name Simon). Stretch is a performer from Toronto, who has attended previous BEASA events and has received positive feedback from the BEASA crowds.
“He spoke a lot about his Somali background and what that meant with him being in Canada,” said Msofe. “We thought that was great because rarely do we have people who come to speak about their lives in Canada and their struggles.”
Stretch was able to intellectually interact with people through his music.
Msofe explained that the planning process was stressful and she was running around most of the event, but it turned out to be successful in the end. She was happy to see the diverse turnout, specifically with non-East Africans, but would like to see more of East Africans around Brock come out and support the events.
BEASA recently concluded its elections for the 2018/19 executive team, but Msofe wanted to highlight her team and the great work they put in. Along with Msofe, this past years BEASA team included: Jannat ul-Firdous, Vice-President; Gila Samoe, Treasurer; Johnathan Ruhakana, Event Coordinator; Monah Costantino, Public Relations Officer; and Brittany Harding, Administrative Assistant.