For those of you who don’t know, Caribana is an infectious, feel-good cultural festival sourcing from Caribbean origins. It began in 1967 as a three day festival, but has evolved into a three week, blown-out event that will be coming to a close on August 4.
As this festival concludes, we decided to look into what our very own Peterborough Afro-Caribbean community has planned for us. We caught up with Lucie Kawiche, Director of Public Relations for the Trent African Caribbean Student Association (TACSU). She filled us in on what the student body and general public can expect from TACSU this coming year. After having a lot of fun attempting to rap/beatbox and failing miserably, we finally got down to the interview.
What do you have planned for us all in terms of events?
As of Monday we had our second meeting of the summer, and during that we formed a general idea of what our calendar will look like. We are going to start the year off with a bang for World Day during ISW week. Within that week we also have Clubs and Groups Day. The next weekend we will have our welcome barbeque that we will be hosting at the zoo, hopefully.
After that we will have our welcome back party, but that is a 19 plus event. Also in September, we are doing the AIDS walk so you can sign up for it at our first general meeting. We will also be having a karaoke night!
October we are going to start auditions for Afrobana, and from there we will be working with organizations on campus and off campus as well, including Jamaica Self Help.
We are also hoping to have a movie night and, of course, our general meetings are happening once a month, hopefully the second Thursday of the month. Afrobana is our most popular event and it is going to be big this year!
Our calendar will be posted on our Facebook page with exact dates.
Do you have anything lined up for what is left of summer?
TACSU hasn’t been planning any major events during the summer break. However, we will be working with Jamaica Self Help on their annual Caribbean Street Fair happening on August 1. There will be tons of food from all over the Caribbean.
It was really great last year, and we are hoping to bring something new to it this year. It will be all day on Hunter Street, and it is going to be lovely. There will be lots of signs leading up to the event in case you are completely lost.
What are the main goals of the new TACSU cabinet this year?
We are hoping that this year we can get more members of the student body to get involved in the group. We are hoping to diversify our membership. We want people to know that TACSU is very inclusive of every group on campus, not just the African and Caribbean students. We accept every one and it is a very welcoming community so we are hoping that this will be highlighted a lot this year.
We are also hoping that we can get Afrobana to be a huge success this year, we are hoping it can go with a bang and that it can go smoothly. That is why we are starting from September to call out to people. At our World Day post there will be a photo booth and from there you can begin thinking about what you might want to do for your act.
We want Trent to be actively involved in Afrobana. Every student! That is our major goal— for every event people come to we want them to leave thinking “I really want to be at the next TACSU event.”
Are there any challenges you have faced so far and expect to face during the school year?
Well already we have challenges because it is summer and it’s hard to have meetings because, generally, people do not stay in Peterborough for the summer. I am probably the only one that chose to stay … half of us are either out of the country or working somewhere else … and this makes it super hard to do scheduling. However, we made it a point to always communicate and make sure everyone is informed about any of the decisions the executive is making. We have a great Secretary, Betty, she handles everything very well and that’s really the main challenge for now.
What other problems do you feel will come up when the school year starts?
I think one of the biggest problems we will face is working with in everyone’s schedule. We may also have some issues with advertising so that people know what TACSU is and what we are really about. However, I think these are problems that we will overcome quickly and smoothly because we really love each other and work well together.
What would you like to see more of in TACSU in terms of membership and events?
Membership-wise, our entire executive is a group of females who are lovely and very dedicated, and I would never change anything about them. However, the male input is still valued in TACSU. So we are hoping that our first-year representative will be a male. It is a little bit harder to get males to participate so we would like to have at least one male on the Executive so we can have that male perspective.
What do you plan to differently from the previous cabinet?
I am not so sure about how the previous Exec ran things so I am not sure how we could do things differently. However, we did enjoy the fact that they tried to keep communication open within the group so we are going to try and keep that going.
For the previous cabinet, maybe one of the major pitfalls I noticed was the less-than-active participation from Trent students when it came to Afrobana. This year we are definitely going to try to have the majority of Trent students involved in most of the events.
We are also going to try and improve communication with Trent African Caribbean students in Trent Oshawa because we want to have a connection with all the Trent Africans and Caribbeans, so we are going to try and break down that barrier. We are hoping to show some presence at the Trent Oshawa campus, and we are hoping they will come to some of our events as well. We are hoping that one of our events might be in Oshawa this year.
Finally, how do you intend to increase volunteer participation?
At this point our main move is to get people excited about the events because if you can see that the executive is having fun (and we are really having fun), and the benefits that are involved in being part of an organization like TACSU, then it will be easier to get involved.
When you see that there is great communication, people are having a good time and it is an inclusive environment, then that is the best way you can get people involved in anything.
Well now you have the general idea of what to expect come fall semester. Personally, I think TACSU is one of the most fun groups on campus. However, as an African, I might be a tiny bit biased. Don’t take my word for it; go out to one of their events and experience it for yourself! They will be participating at the Caribbean street fair on August 1, and will officially kick off their school year at Clubs and Groups Day so join in on the fun and don’t be left out!