Caribbean and African Student Association highlights the Caribbean population on campus


Courtesy of Amira Williams

CASA e-board members with musician, Pell, after Black Professionals Panel on Nov. 17th.

Angel Martinez, Staff Writer

The Loyola Caribbean and African Student Association was founded in 2021 with the aim to increase diversity and representation on campus.

“One of our main goals is to provide students of African or Caribbean descent a safe space and environment that feels like home,” said Marisela Guity, music industry studies junior, who founded the organization.

The group hosts events on campus to showcase Caribbean and African culture with music, food, dance, and panel discussions. Guity said she came up with the idea at the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester.

“I come from Boston, Massachusetts, which is a city full of many different Caribbean, West Indian and African cultures. I wanted to bring that same feeling from home down to New Orleans through this organization and make the vibe we give off fun and inclusive, but also informative,” she said.

History pre-law junior, Amira Williams, director of outreach for the organization, said that “Caribbean Night” was one of the first events they hosted during this school year.

“Caribbean Night was put on earlier this semester, and was done with the intention of shining a positive light on Caribbean culture by showing its richness and beauty through a variety of food, dancing and music,” Williams said.

Williams said the purpose of putting events like this on campus is to expose students and the Loyola community to cultures they may have found foreign and unfamiliar, in order to create a more open and accepting community that values the differences in its students.

“I do believe there is a large Caribbean population at Loyola, but it is very spread out. It ranges from Spanish-speaking countries to countries that speak Creole or patois. It is very interesting to see, and it is definitely something we should come together to embrace more,” Guity said.

According to Williams, the organization has more events planned for this and the following semester. The group plans to host a Black professional panel including four Black women Nov. 17 from 7-8:30 p.m. They also are planning to host Africa Day in the spring.

“Our hope for this event is to foster an environment for students to network and obtain crucial knowledge regarding their future career plans,” Williams said.

Guity thinks it is important to have organizations like the Caribbean and African Student Association on campus so that students can have a safe place where they can feel embraced.

“Having a space created for you by people who don’t look like you or were brought up different than you, won’t resonate with you as much as if the space was created by someone who can relate to you,” Guity said.