As a black person who studied at university, I was interested in becoming involved in extra curricular activities. This was where I became president of the African Caribbean Society in the 2nd year of my studies. The position was suppose to be an opportunity to provide a cultural education of African and Caribbean history, to these students.
The plan was laid out that I would be seeking cultural events, such as film showings, getting speakers and organising trips to museums and cultural places. There was also an ambition for me to network with university African Caribbean societies within the region of the university (East and West Midlands).
This was the plan, but like with most elected positions, you are voted in with a committee, who must work towards this. Firstly, the committee had some people who were there for a CV and to have the status of being on a committee doing nothing, this included any ideas they had or I had, as a committee we would suggest ideas and vote on them and many ideas were agreed upon. This was the easy part, the difficult part was actually arranging the events, many of the people on the committee were either busy or lazy and needed chasing up to see if they had completed the tasks. This lead to some events being staged but not to the full capacity and some events having a relatively low turn out due to a lack of marketing.
This could have been due to faults of my own such as naievity as most of the committee and the members when asked which type of events they wanted, were looking for parties and going to different parties at the different universities and venues. The plan was to have a party as a small segment at different intervals within the year rather than on a regular basis. To offset this based on work and voluntary experience since this time period, there possibly should have been a partnership (formal or informal) with a black based music society created at the time. This would have ensured the cultural aspects of the society would have been fulfilled and the partying needs of the members would have been covered by the black based music society.
The second point about the networking, this was my original attempt at group economics or at least group sociology, where the aim was to host events and invite the other African Caribbean society to our events and then attend other societies events. As stated earlier this was successful in regards to the discussion and initial planning, though one of the biggest universities in the region at the time, was not interested as they felt they had their own network within their own city.
Had this have been undertaken at the time it would have allowed for the sharing of resources and the support of each others events and making events even more fulfilling with the potential of building and improving relations. The other universities lost contact and despite the society I was president of creating events, the interest in this fell and with a committee not fully cooperative the efforts were difficult, as my missus told me recently I may have been ahead of my time.
This experience made me not want to work in a voluntary capacity again with other black people, but I felt this was unfair, as I gained more life experience and volunteered more as I realised, there are people out there wiling to make more of an effort and to make a meaningful contribution to improve the community they are working in.
The reason I am writing this is, because I feel sometimes as a people we have some that want to work towards a cause and its the others around them that let the whole thing collapse. As adults or participants we should only participate in the best interests of the organisation and the people it is meant to serve.