A group of determined CSUN students are preparing to travel to the nation’s capital to spark change in Africa and delegate in a Model African Union.
Seven students from Pan-African studies 466B will be part of a Model African Union and present resolutions for the People’s Republic of Congo at the National Model African Union Conference at Howard University in Washington D.C.
More than 800 college students from around the country will share their concepts of delegations before African Embassies.
The students from the class will be the only group from the entire CSU system participating in the conference.
The class has participated in the National Model African Union since its beginning in 2003 and has been successful.
In Spring 2010, the group’s resolution for Ethiopia was selected for review and may be implemented. Their resolution was chosen from 53 other resolutions that were proposed by other schools.
Terrance Stewart, 21, criminology major, did not initially plan to be part of the group last Spring. He went to Washington D.C. and said the experience was transformative.
“I felt like I made an impact in the world,” Stewart said. “It was my contribution to society and it felt great.”
Members of the class understand accomplishing tasks to prepare for the trip is no walk in the park, said Shabazz Burwell, 30-year-old journalism major and representative of the committee on economic matters.
“You don’t know what you’re in for,” Burwell said.
The journey for this group of students began in Pan-African studies 466A, where they were exposed to African neo-colonism and current affairs, a prerequisite for Pan-African studies 466B and the trip to Washington D.C.
In preparation for their resolutions, the students said they “consumed, lived, and breathed” everything to do with the People’s Republic of Congo.
They researched seemingly every square inch of the African nation, including its population, geography, economy, healthcare, security and socio-political affairs.
Each student is tasked with researching a specific affair regarding the country. Yet, the whole group works as a team to come up with strategies towards a resolution.
In doing so, the class members have made research and preparedness the top priorities for their delegations, said Judith Anugom.
“You do not want to look like a fool in front of all those people,” said the 21-year-old political science senior and representative of the committee on social matters.
Extensive efforts for the trip have derived from Dr. Eleazu S. Obinna, instructor of the course and faculty advisor for the trip.
He was honored at last year’s conference with a plaque of recognition for being an avid participant.
Obinna said he is concerned that many people do not know that Africa is a continent, not a country, and thus do not comprehend the problems that African nations face.
“Each region is different,” said Obinna. “So are their problems.”
The incentive for the students is not a prize, because only certificates are awarded. Rather, it is the opportunity to spread awareness of the troubles in Africa, said Stephanie “Kalechi” Chukwuocha.
“People just do not know the suffering that they (Africans) go through,” said the 21-year-old micro-biology major and representative of the committee on union government. “There is just a lot of tyranny (in Africa).”
Others said it is an opportunity to experience something new.
“This is one of the opportunities that you will be able to apply our knowledge to life,” Burwell said.
All of the students are excited for the trip, something they have been working on for months.
“I look forward to getting out of the state and learning something new,” Chukwuocha said. “I feel confident to represent the state of California (in this trip).”
The funding for the trip comes through the Instructionally Related Activity program at CSUN, which covers costs for academic field trips related to instructional courses when approved by the university’s president.
The class is not only offered to only Pan-African Studies majors.
The 12 students in the class have different majors.
They said one of their goals on the trip is to meet President Barack Obama.
The conference will take place Feb. 23 through 27.