West Indies United is an organization at Bloomsburg University that began in September of 2016. This is an organization that was thought upon by a few immigrants from the West Indies of the world, who have all been friends since freshmen year of college.
When asked what was the purpose of starting this organization Dee Patterson, who is the President of West Indies United, stated ” We have a Black Cultural Society organization on campus that discusses problems, current events, history and anything else that pertains to the African America community, I go to these meetings and realize it is hard to relate to some of the topics because I still consider myself new to this country; Therefore, I thought it was time to finally make an organization that West Indians would feel comfortable with attending”. Dee was born in Haiti and arrived to America April 17th,2012,months after the devastating Earthquake that happened in that country.
Another reason this organization was launched is because it has been emphasized that Bloomsburg University has been enrolling many students ,who just so happen to be West Indian. A lot of those students are already Americanized but have parents and family that live in the West Indies or some students were born in the West Indies and are new to America. Seeing as how Black Cultural Society is focused more on things within the African culture, West Indies United mission is to educate, network and have fun. West Indies has considered collaborating with organizations on campus such as Vise Versa, Black Cultural Society,The Impact Movement, and any other club that wishes to work with this new group. These are many different organizations that cover different backgrounds of activities but could easily all benefit off of each other by networking.
One of the board members , Chamoya Waller, stated ” We are in no way a hate group , nor a group that is trying to start segregation between people. Anyone is eligible to be a part of our organization. As an immigrant I understand how it is being out of my comfort zone. I went from living in the islands to living in the mountains and that is not easy.This is the first time this year I have stepped out of my shell by doing things like attending conferences to network.” This organization will be beneficial to any kind of student who has trouble with adjusting to their environment. Students that are homesick would love this group because they would be among other people who also from some form.
The Fall semester is always a hard for students to adjust to the college life. A transfer student, Melissa Polycarpe has made this clear . Polycarpe stated, ” I was not sure how I was going to cope or make it through this semester. I am so use to being with my family in Philadelphia ,PA but now I am on my own trying to become adjusted to being away at college”.
There was an interest meeting that took place last Wednesday October 24th at 4:30pm in Kehr Union Multicultural Room. The attendance rate of this meeting was more than expected. The board only expected 30 students to attend but the end results ended up being 63 students which is double the rate. These kind of results give the new organization great potential for next semester. This organization could possibly have more or if not the same amount of members as Black Cultural Society.
During this project was a student who was thrilled to hear about this organization launching. Char Miller, a senior at Bloomsburg University, could not contain herself excitement while talking about this organization. Miller emphasized, “FINALLY! An organization that I can fully relate to. This is ran by great people and I know whenever the actual club meetings start I will feel completely at home”. Miller continued by stating, ” I use to always call my grandparents complaining and feeling upset about feeling like an outsider at my own college and even in this country. I considered moving back to Haiti several times but things like this will help me overcome and even teach me new ways of survival”. This is an accomplishment for this organization.
This is an non profit organization but is considering doing donations. The donations will be going towards the islands that are in need such as Jamaica , Trinidad , Haiti etc. West Indies United will begin to start meeting as an actual club during the Spring semester of 2017.