As we continue to celebrate Black History Month this October, we are highlighting the Oxford African & Caribbean Society. The society's West African Officer and Keble student Busola Femi-Gureje tells us why it's such an important part of her life at Oxford.
"For many students of African or Caribbean descent, the reputation of the Oxford African & Caribbean Society (or ACS) precedes itself. Before starting at Oxford this time last year, one of the greatest sources of comfort I had was the knowledge that there existed a thriving ACS within the university, and now a year later I can wholeheartedly say I was not disappointed.
It is widely documented that the experiences of minority ethnic students in institutions such as Oxford can at times be difficult, and the ACS understands this acutely. It exists to not only empower students within the university of African and Caribbean heritage but also enhance their experience of university life with a packed term card full of social events, welfare initiatives, and careers support. The ACS also seeks to encourage cross-cultural exchange between, and the celebration of, all the different cultures within Africa and the Caribbean and seeks to emphasise its diversity - this year we have a dedicated Cultural Committee aiming to do just this.
Non-ACS members are also able to attend lots of our events too, from the Black History Month Showcase to club nights. Apart from providing a safe space for students of African and Caribbean heritage within the University during their time here, the ACS also dedicates immense amounts of time and energy helping to increase representation within the university for students from these backgrounds through its access and outreach work. It is a real testament to the work of ACS committees past that our incoming committee for the 2020/21 academic year has more members on it than there were active first-year members of the ACS as a whole as recently as 2008.
Being a part of the ACS has been amazing for so many reasons. It has allowed me to develop friendships with people I’d have never had the chance to interact with otherwise due to the collegiate nature of Oxford life. It prides itself on being ‘more than a society’, and I would say that this is definitely true. The ACS has been a home away from home for me and feels like a second family. Becoming a member is one of the best things I’ve done since arriving in Oxford as a fresher and is something I cannot recommend enough."
Busola Femi-Gureje is a second-year History student at Keble College, Oxford ACS West African Officer 2020/21 and Keble JCR Access & Academic Affairs Officer 2020/21
Find out more about the Oxford African and Caribbean Society on their website.