By Staff Writer Seth Tamarkin
Adorned on the walls of the Frederick Douglass Unity House are beautiful portraits of many Civil Rights activists from Martin Luther King Jr. to Frederick Douglass himself.
There are also framed pictures with a few of the many student organizations that meet weekly in the Unity House, and following in the visions of MLK Jr. and Douglass, those student organizations encompass and intersect with many of the varied ethnic communities that make up University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.
A detailed look at their calendar shows how diverse the Unity House is, a microcosm of the vast diversity that makes up our university.
Sitting in his Batman-memorabilia filled office, Lasella Hall, Associate Director of the Frederick Douglass Unity House, broke it down,
“On Monday evenings, the African Student Association meets at 7:30 PM. Every other Tuesday, the House of Deliberations meets at 5 PM and every Tuesday, at 7 PM, the Cape Verdean Student Association comes together.”
The House of Deliberations is one of the few that aren’t outspokenly representing a community, but the club does strive to “familiarize the Umass Dartmouth community with social issues,” according to their Facebook page.
Wednesdays find the student organization Poetic Justice meeting at 5 PM, while the Black Student Union comes together at 7 PM in the evening.
“To my understanding, Poetic Justice is a club that comes together around spoken-word poetry and uses it as an art form to develop different students who want to do public speaking around poetry, as well as using poetry to address pressing social matters” Hall said.
The Black Student Union differs itself by primarily being about promoting “student participation in the overall policy and decision-making process of the university, and to play a significant role in guiding our university to incorporate the values and concerns of its African American and minority students” according to their constitution.
Moving along, Hall listed Thursday’s organizations, “At 5 PM, Curly in College meets, while Thursday evening at 7 PM the United Latino Society meets.”
For those unaware, Curly in College often discusses self-esteem and self-esteem awareness by using natural hair as a medium to do so.
Finally, while Friday usually sees no organizations meet there, the Jewish group Hillel have recently been hosting their Shabbat dinners in the Unity House too.
However, that isn’t even close to the full breadth of organizations that fall under the Unity House umbrella.
The Asian Student Association, for example, meets elsewhere due to time restrictions but still receives the full backing of the Unity House. In fact, the House helped pay for a trip to Chinatown in Boston last semester, and this semester the ASA will bring students to New York on an upcoming trip.
More so, fraternities and sororities alike also are connected to the Unity House. The Hatian Student Association (HASA) meets at 5 PM in the auditorium, and “Not only do student groups use this space, but many of the departments around campus do to,” Lasella explained,
“For example, under Live Well, which is the office of health, education and promotion, we are actually doing HIV/AIDS testing on Thursday at 12 o’clock.”
With all these different organizations, some students may not know what to join or if they should branch out into organizations that may not reflect their ethnicity. Nykole Nova (Criminal Justice/Psych, 2020), Vice President of the Cape Verdean Student Association, responded to those worries, “Although there are different ethnic clubs, don’t let that discourage you in joining.
I’m Dominican but Vice President of CVSA. What it has done for me is opened my network. So, don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to meet new people just because of race/ethnicity.”
Regardless of who you are, it’s a guarantee that there is at least one organization in the Unity House that you’ll enjoy, so go down there and see for yourself!