Release Date: 2/19/2007
Clarksville, Ark. -- Three African-American students are doing their part to make a CHANGE at Ozarks.
Ashley Hill, Shamika Harris and Theodore “Taz” Beard have formed the organization CHANGE, which stands for Combining Honor and Achievement to Navigate and Guide Excellence. The trio eventually wants CHANGE to be the university’s chapter of the Arkansas Black Students Association.
Hill, Harris and Beard are in the process of working on an organization constitution and applying for a charter with the Student Life Office.
“Right now we’re putting the organization together, writing the constitution and laying the foundation,” said Hill, a sophomore Biology major from Hot Springs, Ark. “We want to have everything in place by next year and then we can focus on growing the membership.”
Harris, a sophomore accounting major from Bay, Ark., said the purpose of the organization is to help black students have more input in campus matters and to provide a support group.
“There are not many black students on campus or in this area and this will help give us a presence on campus and also to help us form friendships,” said Harris, who came up with the group’s name. “This organization will help give black students more of a voice on campus and to make a difference, or make a change. That’s why the name seemed so appropriate.”
Hill also thinks CHANGE can help recruit and retain more black students at Ozarks.
“There aren’t a lot of black students here and it seems like a lot of the ones who come here end up transferring,” Hill said. “We love this university and we want to graduate from here. We think this organization is a way to help recruit and keep more black students. I hope we can get involved in helping Ozarks recruit more black students in the future.”
One of the organization’s first projects is to sponsor a gameshow called The Movement on Monday, Feb. 19. The gameshow is scheduled to recognize February as being Black History Month.
“We wanted to use the gameshow format as a way to inform the campus community about Black History Month in a fun and entertaining way,” said Beard, a sophomore Biology and Art major from Tyler, Texas.
The organization has received strong support from the campus community.
“We’ve received a lot of positive and supportive comments from faculty, staff and students,” said Harris. “It's encouraging when the university recognizes your efforts and wants to support you.”