Buna and Injera and Festivals, Oh My!
February 15, 2018|Posted in: On Campus
Beth Siyoum is a sophomore studying International Studies and Business Administration from Aurora, Colorado. She is the Vice President of the Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Association and loves the culture it creates on campus!
The Ethiopian and Eritrean Student Association was initially created to raise funds for the 2016 drought that occurred in Ethiopia, but since then has expanded to bring students from these countries together in social and philanthropic environments. Philanthropy has a key role in the organization and is incorporated into almost all of the events. We want the AU community to learn more about our culture while also having fun!
I have been involved in ESA for about two years now. I joined because I wanted to build a relationship with the Ethiopian community on AU’s campus. I quickly learned the mission statement for the organization and became encouraged. ESA promotes awareness of the Ethiopian and Eritrean community at AU and provides a platform for those that want to express their cultural identity. We also raise awareness and foster discussion about current issues, both locally and globally. Our frequently held events are Buna Time, a time for discussing our identity and diaspora while also drinking traditional Ethiopian coffee called Buna, a trip to Dukem, an Ethiopian Restaurant, and a fundraiser to give back to a nonprofit organization that works directly with Ethiopia or Eritrea. Buna Time is my favorite event because we discuss social issues that impact our communities in the US and back home. The stimulating discussion among our members is encouraging and uplifting.
ESA held its first major event this past semester, ESA Fest. This festival aligned with our vision statement because it created an environment for others to learn about our culture and allowed us to appreciate it. This festival encompassed various cultural performances and food. We donated the proceeds to Ethio Bridge for Education, which is a nonprofit organization that builds schools in Ethiopia. Our reoccurring goal is to organize the Ethiopian and Eritrean students on campus to create a sense of unity within our community in DC. Our long-term goal is to increase awareness for the Ethiopian and Eritrean community on campus, especially in a city that is home to the largest Ethiopian and Eritrean population in the United States.
ESA has helped me feel connected to my roots and it has helped me understand my cultural identity; therefore, I am excited to ensure this organization has that same effect on students in the future.