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Thursday, September 23, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 65, Issue 23

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AAS to sponsor open house today

By Nickie Johnson
Daily Cougar Staff

African-American Studies will showcase its academic, service and social aspects during an open house today in the program's Agnes Arnold Hall offices.

The open house, which will last from 12:30 to 5 p.m. in the AAS offices on the third floor of AH, will be a low-key mixer where the University community can meet the staff and students in African-American Studies and learn about what the program involves.

The program has been a part of the University since 1968. "Many black students here felt they didn't have a voice on campus," said Tracy Howard, AAS program manager.

The program was founded so that these students would have a greater sense of belonging. Under the direction of Program Director Linda Reed, it has evolved into an academic and social forum for students.

The main function of the AAS is to promote awareness and education about diverse cultures throughout the community. Members do outreach work like mentoring students, working with the I Have a Dream Foundation and sponsoring Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives. The organization will also co-sponsor a seminar on hate crimes in November.

But AAS' newest project deals with the future. In cooperation with the Houston Chronicle, AAS is buying newspaper subscriptions for fifth-graders at Blackshear and Turner elementary schools, both of which are near the University and have at least 95 percent African-American enrollments.

Students read the papers in their social studies classes and write essays about cultural issues. If they can keep their grades above a C average until they graduate from high school, the students can earn a scholarship from the Chronicle to attend UH.

The program will also award a record nine scholarships this year following last year's AAS Scholar's Banquet, which raised more than $10,000. The deadline to apply for those scholarships is Friday, Oct. 1.

AAS encouraged all students to come to today's open house. "It is a great chance to network with the faculty," Howard said.

In addition, students can pick up a calendar of events to find out what is being sponsored this year, and food and refreshments will be served.

Howard stressed that everyone is invited to the event.

"I can't emphasize enough that this program is not just for African-Americans," she said. "It is for all students who want to learn more about different cultures and communities."

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