St. Cloud State University students from Congo, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Ghana received a unique experience over the Memorial Day holiday.
The international students participated in a five-day, four-night Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) Outdoor Excursion during Memorial Day weekend. This was the first opportunity for these students to fish, hike, canoe and enjoy outdoor recreational activities of this type.
“I had fun from the very first moment. I did not know what to expect, but was ready to try everything,” said student Olubnmi (Maggie) Faremi. “I never thought this would be something I should pursue but now I see that these activities are things that I can do myself. The adventure was lovely and I really enjoyed every bit of it and I am ready to go again.”
The BIPOC BWCA Outdoor Excursion was co-sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) under the leadership of St. Cloud Branch President Mahogany Morrison, who is the Communications and Administrative Manager in SCSU’s School of Graduate Studies.
“From the depth of my heart, I want to say a big thank you for the trip we went on. I am sure I wouldn’t have been able to have a trip like this at all throughout my years of study,” said student Alao (Abby) Motunrato. “In our country we are only taught to work, work, work and focus on school and never take time to do something like this. I was able to see the beauty of nature, know the value of reflection, relaxation, and fun and above all, meet new people. I am proud to be a woman of color and blessed to be an AAUW member!”
University co-sponsors of this event included the Office of Institutional Equity & Access, Campus Recreation, Center for International Studies, Multicultural Student Services and the Office of Strategic Enrollment Management.
Due to the feedback and participation of students and the success of this event, SCSU is already in the planning stages of the next event while engaging with more BIPOC students in multiple ways.
“My words cannot express the magnitude of the experience we completed. I had never thought to go and do something like that as our culture does not teach this. Just to “enjoy” life and try new things without worrying about school and work is not something that is customary for us,” said student Oluwaseun (YK) Ayeyemi. “Coming on this trip has opened my eyes to see how I should also take time to relax and refresh myself. Now I want more of it!”