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Tuesday, February 22, 2000
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 100

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Reaching Out

By Jesse Lauritz
Daily Cougar Staff

It is Black History month, but that doesn't mean that it is the only time we hear about different African-American organizations.

The African American Honors Student Association is just one of the organizations that represent the ideals of its minority on campus.


Travis Howell/The Daily Cougar


UH's National Association of Black Journalists held a general meeting last night, discussing in detail chances of landing internships and committee selections.

"The AAHSA is one of the student groups within the Honors College comprised of African Americans. What we do basically is petition our needs to the Honors college and sometimes to the university at large," President Emily Okoronkwo said.

"We do a variety of community outreach programs. Last semester we had a project with Yates High where we walked around the neighborhood and told the students about the scholarships that were available. We also told them about UH and the Honors college, plus the advantages of pursuing a higher education," Okoronkwo said.

The organization is also pretty new to the campus. "The program got started in 1993 out of a need to have African American students in the (Honors) College to have their concerns and opinions voiced," Okoronkwo said.

As president, Okoronkwo's job has different facets. "I basically oversee everything. Sometimes, I serve as a contact person for whatever programs we want to run and I also recruit outside help," she said.

Today, AAHSA is participating in one of its outreach programs. "We are going to Herman Manor Park nursing home. It is something we did last year as well. We're going to pass out valentines and candy to the residents of the nursing home.

"Another thing that we're going to be doing is a basketball tournament. We are going to hold a basketball tournament in March, because it is March Madness time for college basketball and we are inviting a lot of the students from Yates to participate," Okoronkwo said.

"This weekend we will be helping out in the voter registration drive (by getting people) in the Third Ward to get out, register and vote. This is so their interests can be represented in public offices," she said.

As well as helping out the community, the program joins in the recruiting of bringing in African American students to the Honors College.

"We help in the recruitment of African-American high school students into the Honors College since the state of Texas has done away with race-based scholarships," Okoronkwo said.

The AAHSA has been well received by the university as well, with support from the Honor's College faculty. "Dean Ted Estess is real supportive of us and real encouraging. We have a good support base as regards to faculty and staff," Okoronkwo said.

The University also features other organizations for African Americans. There is the Black Student Union and UH's National Association of Black Journalists. There is also a chapter of the NAACP here at the university.

The NABJ held a general meeting last night, discussing information on internships and committee selections.

For more information on the NABJ, e-mail Dontée Lewis at donteel@hotmail.com.

The rest of this month may be labeled "Black History Month," but don't tell that to these organizations; they give back to UH and carry on their services throughout the entire year.
 

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