For the first time in five years, attendants will have to pay to attend the cultural event known as Africa Night: The Taste of Africa.
Citing a lack of additional funding from student government, Gabrielle Ohaya, president of African United, said the organization was â€œforced to chargeâ€ to cover the high cost of food.
Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for non-students, and are available in advance at the Lory Student Centerâ€™s Flea Market.
African United requested funding for the event from the Student Funding Board, a branch of student government that allocates money to campus organizations. At the time of the request, however, the board had given away all $204,000 of its budget to about 40 organizations as of February.
â€œItâ€™s unfortunate, it really honestly is,â€ said Shannon Endres, chair of the Student Funding Board. â€œIf we had $1 million, I would just love to give every organization 100 percent of what it needed. But unfortunately, thatâ€™s just not how it is.â€
While the cost might deter some people from turning out for Saturdayâ€™s event, Ohaya said, 300 to 350 are expected to attend the event in the Lory Student Center Main Ballroom.
Designed to help people reinvent the way they view Africa and have fun, African Night will feature cultural food, dancing, fashion and poetry.
â€œWe want to shed a positive light on Africa because we feel like a lot of the time the media is full of the negative,â€Â said Ohaya, a sophomore communications major.
â€œWe want to do a celebration of the positive and make people realize that there is a positive â€” lots of things to be happy about and celebrate.â€
The first part of the event will consist of eating traditional African food prepared by members of Africa United. Select dishes from different African regions and countries â€“â€“ Nigeria, Uganda and Ethiopia â€“â€“Â will appear on the menu.
Served in a buffet style, there will be enough food for at least 300 people.
A brief event introduction and fashion, poetry and dance shows representative of various African regions will follow the meal.
The nightâ€™s celebrations are scheduled to last until 9 p.m., but event goers are welcome to stay until 11 p.m. to dance and socialize.
â€œI hope to see a lot of different people,â€ Ohaya said, adding a draw of the event is the diversity of attendants.
Staff reporter K.C. Fleming can be reached at email@example.com.