UEL’s Afro-Carribean Society (ACS) recently held their Annual General Meeting, where second year Physiotherapy student Sarah Bernasko was elected as new President to replace Gertrude Asante, who’s just finished her final year as a Business Management student. Your Universe caught up with them both to discuss the past, present and future of their society.
Congrats on your appointment! How does it feel?
SARAH: Er, shocked! Yeah, it’s alright. I don’t know what I’ve got myself into yet but I guess I’ll find out!
Can you tell us a little bit about the history of this society at UEL? When did it start and how many members do you have?
GERTRUDE: The society’s been here for a long time. We’ve heard of events that have been previously done before we came but it wasn’t really an active society. So we decided to take it upon ourselves this year and push it to people. We managed to get about 25 members in total and we wanna push it to get more members before September. Hopefully we can.
What’s been the most memorable moments for the society over the last year?
SARAH: Winning two awards! So we won Most Improved Society and Event of the Year, which was really good because obviously she’s (Gertrude) been putting in a lot of work and we weren’t getting enough of the recognition for it. So that kind of sealed the deal that, ‘OK we have done something this year. It wasn’t just games.’
What was the event?
SARAH: ‘Freshers Reloaded’, for the January Freshers that came in. And then the second award – ‘Most Improved Society’ – is the society that’s done the most compared to the previous year and really upped their game.
If you were to start the society from scratch tomorrow, how would you do it?
GERTRUDE: Find good people who are interested in your society. So for example people who have the same interests as you. If they’re passionate about the society, if they’re willing to put in the same effort as you into the society…What else? I guess advertise as well, push it to other students, get recognition for it. Go to the SU, they’ll help you out as well.
What do you want your members to get out of being part of this society?
SARAH: Just a community where they can go and find like-minded people who can help with their university life. Because once you have that within you, it’s a little bit easier to go through rather than going through things by yourself, because someone else has probably experienced different things that might help you.
Will your members be meeting for any events over the summer period?
SARAH: We were planning to do an end-of-year event and that is still being planned in the second week of June. And we’re collaborating with another uni to do a boat party.
GERTRUDE: We’re waiting for Student Union approval, then we can advertise.
What are your hopes for the society in the next academic year?
SARAH: Build a bigger crowd than we have now. Let people know that there’s actually an ACS that exists and it’s active - even though this year we weren’t as successful as we wanted to be - and get actual signed members. Because we have loads of people that come in and come to events, but they’re not members yet. So we just need to get them and retain them.
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