In the midst of a global pandemic and at a time when America was experiencing perhaps the greatest racial reckoning since the Civil Rights movement of the 60s, UAGC student Jade Poates had an idea that she hoped would help unify her academic peers while also bringing the Black student experience to the forefront. In the summer of 2020, she founded UAGC’s official Global Black Community Club on LinkedIn, and her vision for fostering even greater inclusion and the preservation of Black culture at UAGC came to life.
“We’re a pretty diverse school, and I thought it would be something that would be great to bring to add diversity and to celebrate people of color,” says Jade, who was featured as UAGC’s September 2020 Student of the Month.
Jade initially came up with the idea after she received an email inviting her to join one of the university’s many online student clubs and organizations. Although there are a number of options, she says something was missing for her.
“I scrolled down and thought, ‘They all look really cool, but they are not anything that truly speaks to me,’” Jade says.
That experience prompted her to take action. All students are welcome to propose an idea via email for a student club or organization. After Jade followed all the required steps, the Global Black Community Club became an official student organization at UAGC.
The club’s mission, she says, is to promote camaraderie, critical thinking, academic excellence, leadership, preservation of Black history, and culture. Its motto: “Education for the people.”
The idea for this motto came from what Jade says is similar to other expressions used in African American vernacular, or what she describes as a “fancy word for Ebonics.”
“Like when Black people say, ‘for the culture,’ I thought it would be cool to use it to incorporate our mission and also make it something people could relate to,” Jade explains.
The club is certainly living up to its motto. Since its inception, it has grown to nearly 700 members and now has a full leadership team that includes three faculty advisors and four student officers. And, of course, it’s truly meant to educate all people.
“Anyone that wants to learn more about Black culture, history, and promoting academic excellence is welcome,” she notes.
Read on to learn why you should become a member.
Six Reasons You Should Join the Global Black Community Club
The Global Black Community Club offers a great opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, gain knowledge, and create connections. Here are six reasons why you should join today.
1. You’ll gain a greater sense of community.
The club is open to anyone affiliated with UAGC who wants to participate and foster a connection amongst its members. During their quarterly meetings, they open the floor to participants, and they discuss any topics that come up, whether it’s about Black culture, time management, or anything in between.
“If you want to learn more about other people and their stories and their history and be able to contribute to the overall community of Black American people, especially the students who have similar goals to you, then join our club and you will get a new outlook on this particular group of people.”
2. It’s a support system.
Participants include academic scholars — including alumni and doctoral students — who often share and pass down wisdom on topics including how to stay on top of homework, how to balance school with their personal and professional lives, and more.
“As an adult online learner, being the sole person responsible for your education, it helps to hear others who have done it, especially from people who may be 10 or 20 classes ahead of you, it encourages you,” Jade says. “It’s great to have that extra person to lean on, whatever your academic endeavors may be.”
3. Leadership includes knowledgeable faculty and successful students.
The club’s leadership team is full of all-stars. Dr. Newton Miller and Dr. Tamecca Fitzpatrick are bringing their experiences to the club as the newest faculty advisors to join, while the founding faculty advisor, Ashant’e Clayborne Roberson, continues to help foster the spirit of the club. They are joined by students Jade, Val Reason, Dan Fiore (our February 2021 Student of the Month), Michael Turner (UAGC’s 2020 Student of the Year), and Raychel Chism.
“It has been such a pleasure working alongside these great minds,” Jade acknowledges. “It’s been really cool to connect with faculty members and learn from them.”
Now that the group has a full leadership team in place, Jade says she expects even more future opportunities to engage with members and further their mission, she adds.
4. There’s a book club.
If you want to learn more about insightful Black authors, diversify your reading list, and think on a higher level, this unique aspect of the club is the perfect opportunity. In fact, Jade admits the first book they read as a group, the 1987 novel “Beloved” by American writer Toni Morrison, was a bit difficult, but it pushed the members to challenge themselves without any elitism.
“People really liked being in a relaxed environment and we laughed at ourselves for not understanding the book,” she says. “We had fun, and I admitted that I was the leader but didn’t know what was going on, and everyone learned together.” Jade says they hope to read a new book every month.
5. There are partnerships with other UAGC groups.
Recently, the Global Black Community Club joined forces with CHAMPS peer mentoring to network on an even greater scale. CHAMPS hosted the club as a guest so they could spread more awareness and interact with other students outside the club. Additional networking opportunities will begin to emerge as the club matures and grows.
“Being able to talk to that many people was great because it opened up more ways to connect with even more students,” Jade notes.
6. It’s not all academic.
The club knows how to have fun, too. From movies to games, the group hosts a variety of virtual events that offer members a chance to interact, engage, and connect. For Black History Month, the club hosted a “27 Days of Trivia” game that covered both historic and current events.
Join the Club
If you’d like to learn more about the Global Black Community club or any other UAGC student organization, take a look at the current list of opportunities and reach out to the group that interests you. You never know — there may even be a chance for you to participate in a leadership role or even establish your own club!
Erin Ansley is the social media manager for UAGC.