PASU: Building Unity and Strength on Our Campus
Sarah Burke, features editor
For students who have not attended a Pan-Afrikan Student Union (PASU) event, you are missing out. Throughout Black History Month, PASU has been hosting events to celebrate Black students of Augsburg, such as an Art Therapy event, Black Love: Spin the Wheel event and a Black success panel. The last event was the PASU Showcase, Ubuntu: Honoring The Ones That Came Before Us. Ubuntu was all about showcasing Black talent, and featured visual art, dancing, singing, rapping and an open mic. Even though Black History Month and a lot of big events are over, PASU still does a lot of work for the Augsburg community that isn’t as widely known to students outside of the organization.
PASU serves as a community for all students of African descent at Augsburg and, according to their mission statement, pushes to “build unity and strength within the Black community.”
Malissa Lamah, a Finance and Marketing major and Vice President of PASU, got involved when she was a freshman and joined the board her sophomore year. She said that PASU was fun from the very beginning and it became an important part of her Augsburg experience. “Augsburg is a somewhat diverse school, but it is still a [predominantly white institution], so anywhere that Black students are able to feel comfortable, I want to be there,” she said.
According to Lamah, PASU is about connecting people who might otherwise feel isolated. PASU works to bring opportunities and mentors to Black students in a place where their identities and experiences are not being valued the same as other students. One way that PASU achieves this is with the Black Success panel, which brings Black leaders from throughout the community to answer questions and give advice to students about being in the workforce as a Black person. This allows students to ask questions that might be more personal to their experiences as a Black person and find thriving adults who can help them navigate this new stage in their adult life.
Lamah said that having opportunities like these is essential. “I believe it is very important for everybody to have a space where they can be with people that are similar to them and connect with each other,” said Lamah. “With PASU, Augsburg is essentially a [predominantly white institution], although it is pretty diverse, but when you promote student orgs like PASU, AISA, AASA, when you have those different groups, you can cater to all students. I feel like it is very important to have PASU on campus because a lot of Black students want to have these opportunities to meet other people like them and have a space to learn about their identities and other identities, to learn more about career opportunities, a bunch of things that could cater to them personally. With PASU, you get a more personalized experience.”
If you are interested in attending PASU events, look out for Afrikan Week, coming up at the end of March, or attend a general meeting. During Afrikan Week, you can learn about Pan-Afrikan history, try new foods, and participate in activities run by PASU. Follow them on Instagram @augsburgpasu or Facebook.