March 4, 2019
By Chennelle Channer
The Passion for Impact Scholarship was founded by Fatoumata Kane '18 and Chukwudi N. Kanu '18 while they were members of the African Student Organization (ASO) at Binghamton University. Kane and Kanu wanted to develop a plan to help Binghamton students of African descent (including Latinx and Caribbean) fulfill their passion to help serve underrepresented communities.
Realizing that minorities in the greater Binghamton community face many disparities in access to quality resources in the health, education and work sectors, Kane and Kanu believed that it was important for students of color to provide support and raise awareness of these ongoing issues in the local community. So the ASO joined with the brothers of MALIK Fraternity Inc. to create the Passion for Impact Scholarship, which offers financial support to a student who wants to explore their passion for service to the community.
"The MALIK Fraternity Inc. has always been a vessel of diversity and inclusion on this campus," says current ASO President Abigail Owusu-Ansah. "The brothers of MALIK Fraternity have consistently striven to impact Binghamton community members and bring awareness to issues that affect the larger-scale minority community."
The ASO was excited to partner with another organization whose goals and mission aligned with their mission of uniting all people of African descent through the commonalities of shared history and culture. Both organizations aspire to uplift their community, which led to their joint support of this project through strong mentorship and financial backing.
The most recent scholarship recipient, Alpha Bah '18, harnessed his medical interest to directly impact the Binghamton/Vestal community. Bah used his award money to host a health fair where he provided free screenings to test for diseases and conditions that have a large impact on minority communities, such as diabetes and hypertension. In addition to providing free screenings, the fair helped educate the community on better health practices and preventative measures that could steer them away from such chronic ailments.
The Passion for Impact Scholarship accepts only applicants of Latinx, Caribbean and African descent in order to emphasize the significance of being aware of the societal issues that impact their communities. "I think it is important for us to give back to communities similar to where we grew up," says Owusu-Ansah. "We have to remember that even though current and past students of African descent were thankfully able to receive a higher education and provide a better life for themselves, there are still millions of people who struggle to get by. In remembrance of our fellow community members, I think applicants of African descent can be the best vessel to support and uplift some of these communities."
The ASO is cohosting an ongoing EmpowerHer Drive with Iban Ifiok, an organization founded by Binghamton alumna Mmekom Udosen '18. The drive will provide books, sanitary supplies and clothes to students in Nigeria. Iban Ifiok is dedicated to uplifting and empowering girls in Nigeria to strive for greatness. To participate in the drive, contact the ASO at firstname.lastname@example.org.