Jaiye: African Excellence Gala
During the summer of 2019, the leadership of Carnegie Mellon University’s Young African Leaders Association looked to see how they could further promote and celebrate African culture and excellence with respect to academics and the social experience not just on Carnegie Mellon’s campus, but in the Pittsburgh college scene. That sparked the idea of a gala that would incorporate other Pittsburgh college African Student Organizations and affiliates. This Gala would be the first African Excellence Gala on campus. Ultimately, the event would serve as an evening to recognize both graduate and undergraduate Africans at CMU and elsewhere making big achievements. Although we are looking to work with and have other college organizations be involved in the planning, Carnegie Mellon University’s Young African Leaders Association would be the primary event coordinator.
The Young African Leaders Association (YALA) is a cultural organization at Carnegie Mellon University. From what we know, the organization was started at CMU about 7 years ago. This student an organization that looks to promote African culture and social issues on our campus and in the larger Pittsburgh area. YALA seeks to inform and serve the community by providing guest speakers, cultural opportunities, professional opportunities and community service opportunities. YALA is a cultural interest organization that welcomes all ethnicities, races, and nationalities. As an organization, we provide opportunities for members to engage in stimulating conversations and make an impact in some way on the continent of Africa. YALA serves as a home away from home for many students who attend the school. We seek to be the representation of the continent on Carnegie Mellon’s campus. As an organization, our members work to increase awareness of African culture, by providing a safe environment for many to associate with the African diaspora regardless of where they come from.
About the Event
The event features multiple components to mark a memorable evening. The Gala will have African food catered, will be open to faculty and staff to attend, and the schedule of events will include: introduction, presentation of academic and “social/superlative awards”, student group performances, audience games, and a performance by a featured artist. This Gala will be the first African Excellence Gala on campus. Ultimately, the event will serve as an evening to recognize both graduate and undergraduate Africans at CMU and elsewhere making big achievements. Although we are looking to work with and have other college organizations be involved in the planning, Carnegie Mellon University’s Young African Leaders Association will be the primary event coordinator.
Like many other events, and for such an event like this the costs of executing such a plan are relatively high. For this reason, we are asking for help and donations to offset those costs. Your support may help fund this African Excellence Gala that will enrich the college experience for many students. This event will give African students and others on campus a night to celebrate their existence on campus. Additionally, it would help to strengthen the African community in Pittsburgh and more specifically on Pittsburgh college campuses by improving their quality of life and giving them a voice. This event will positively impact the Pittsburgh African community, empowering the community and enhancing the Diaspora. Moreover, it would allow many other students and faculty to be informed with different perspectives that shape many of our experiences as African identifying students on campus.