Spirit Week at Canisius
By Sam Chapman, News Reporter
The Canisius Afro-American Society hosted Spirit Week this week to not only boost morale among students but also in hopes that it would promote diversity across campus.
Bennie Williams, advisor of the Afro-American Society as well as assistant dean of students and director of the Multicultural Student Center, explained simply that the goal was to allow for a respite from the stress of the semester. He said, “This initiative was something to help bring students together and have some fun as we get further into the semester and assignments and tasks begin to take over.”
The deeper purpose of Spirit Week was twofold; Williams described it as “an opportunity for students to show their creative sides as well as [to] become familiar with the Afro-American Society.”
“Throughout the week, many students participated, and it was great to see students looking forward to each new day,” he added.
This school spirit event, Afro-American Society hoped, would encourage a larger presence within the society on campus, where the hope was that “students become a bit more comfortable” with the organization. This is especially true among students that may have previously felt tentative in joining.
“For individuals who do not share the Black/African American identity, they may be a bit nervous to participate in the club. Spirit Week was an opportunity for students — no matter what their background or identity — to have some fun and become more aware of the goals of the Afro-American Society.”
Williams noted that it is imperative that diversity be furthered and promoted at Canisius. The celebration of Spirit Week worked towards this and acted as a catalyst in gathering students from all walks of life. Williams noted, “Promoting diversity is important because the campus is full of so many different identities, backgrounds and perspectives. Spirit Week was a fun way for students to interact with each other and build relationships across cultures.”
Canisius has the opportunity to continue in its mission of representation. As Williams pointed out, “It is vital that we continue to hire staff that look like our students. It is important for them to find people who are able to understand their perspectives and experiences.”
Beyond Spirit Week, and beyond Black History Month, he continued, it is crucial to carry on reverence for Black History and its contributions to Canisius, its surrounding neighborhood and the city as a whole while looking for opportunities to celebrate Black excellence in the present day.
Williams concluded, “We can continue to celebrate Black History by acknowledging the various ways members of the Black community impact our daily lives and highlight key initiatives that are taking place in our community.”