Sophomore Rejoyce Owusu wanted a chance to educate others and give back to her home country. Owusu, originally from Ghana but raised downstate in the Bronx, is currently heading the Ghana Project, a long-term collaborative project that aims to raise Geneseo students' awareness about the country and establish a connection between the two areas.
As a GOLD Mentor, Owusu was required to complete a civic engagement project, and her thoughts turned to Ghana.
"My goal is to educate as many people as I can about Ghana," she said. Along with GOLD, Owusu also involved the School of Education and the department of Residence Life. They also wish to collaborate with another student-run organization, Genesee Valley Global Friendships. Several staff members advise the project as well, and many students have expressed an interest.
Junior and fellow GOLD Mentor Jesse Parent is also involved in the project, and is interested in spreading an awareness of other countries around campus.
"Here in Geneseo, we're kind of in an isolated upstate New York community," he said. "If we can establish connections with other people, that can enhance [a student's] perspective, and their experience."
Both Owusu and Parent acknowledge that the project is still in its early stages, and are currently focused on raising interest in the project. They have created a Web site and Facebook group, and are working on setting up committees for future projects.
"I see a lot of interest in this sort of thing, but I'm not sure what direction it will take," said Parent.
Participants in the project have recently hosted an educational event in Wayne Hall, in which students from SUNY Brockport who had traveled to Ghana spoke about the life and culture there. Over 50 students attended, a turnout, which Parent called, "a good sign."
Owusu feels confident about student involvement in the project in the future.
"One of our goals is to turn this into an organization," she said. "People feel like they've been a part of it already." Owusu also mentioned that there is a large amount of room for new ideas and different roles to be filled within the project. In the future, Owusu hopes to hold different Ghana-related events to increase student awareness about the project.
"We don't want to limit ourselves," said Owusu. "This is just the beginning."