Month: February 2019


Student of the Month

School: Washington University in St. Louis Region: MACURH
Nominee: Efua Osei Nominator: Ashley Thompson

On-Campus Population: 5100 Chapter Size: 29

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

"You may write me down in history / With your bitter, twisted lies, / You may trod me in the very dirt / But still, like dust, I'll rise." Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" tells the story of perseverance and overcoming the obstacles that society has placed in her way. Efua Osei embodies Angelou’s vision. Efua Osei is a sophomore at Washington University in St. Louis who revived an independent black student newspaper after being inspired by Black student publications from the 1960s and 70s. Entitled, “RIZE”, the publication serves as a means for Black students to share their views and experiences, as well as a mechanism to shed light on the existence of the Black community on campus. Efua released the first edition of RIZE on February 1, as a kickoff for Black History Month. The edition included articles about the 30th anniversary of WashU’s oldest cultural show, Black Anthology as well as he 50th anniversary of Washington University’s African and African American Studies Department. This year also marked the anniversary of “The Black Collegian”, a black student publication in 1968 that included a document demanding an increase in student enrollment and financial aid as well as the creation of a Black Studies Department. In an interview with Student Life, WashU’s student run newspaper, Efua said, “I really want people to-- I think in terms of real ambitions, looking at the kind of reach that the Black Collegian had an looking at how it really brought together people in the Black community, the small community that it was in 1968, and it really got people excited to do things.” Efua discovered the Collegian while looking through the university’s archives for a class she was in last year, and her interest inspired her to revive a publication to highlight the voices of black students. As an African and African American Studies major, with a minor in design, Efua has combined her academic interests and creativity to uplift the Black community on campus. Efua began working on the newspaper in November, after spending time over the summer sorting through information she acquired in the archives. During the planning of the paper, Efua also served as assistant choreographer for Black Anthology. Efua is a beautiful dancer and continues to use her talent to edify the experiences of Black students. The title of the publication exemplifies Efua’s vision for her fellow students. The name is a play on the word “rise”, with an alternate spelling drawing on words like revitalize, reorganize and revolutionize. These words encompass some of the goals of the publication as Washington University’s Independent Black Newspaper. During the month of February, Efua kick-started an independent publication, choreographed and danced in WashU’s oldest cultural show, worked at the Liberman Graduate Center, all while continuing to be an outstanding student and friend. I have had the pleasure of working on RIZE with Efua and can attest to the amount of work that went into it. Efua not only wrote articles for the newspaper, but also helped create the design, apply for funding for printing from the Center of Diversity and Inclusion and ran all internal logistics. Throughout all of this, Efua never lost sight of her goal. She continued to keep the team on task and always maintained the beautiful positive spirit that she carries throughout every aspect of her life. Efua is a visionary, and she brought her vision to fruition for Black History Month. Efua is an inspiration to me, not just as a student and creative, but as an amazing friend and support system for those around her.

Word Count: 600

Date of entry into database: 2019-03-03 21:01:14

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