NAACP is coming to Fresno State

Second year philosophy and pre-law student Alyssa Smith wants to make a difference on campus. Smith is in the process of starting up a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) college branch on Fresno State’s campus.

This will be the first college branch in Fresno.

“I feel that the NAACP has always been a champion for civil rights and social change. That in and of itself, is what encouraged me to start a college chapter. Being a part of the NAACP allows us to network with other branches, adult, college and youth units across the nation,” Smith said.

The NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.

“The NAACP is not just for African-Americans, it is meant to be inclusive for all races. Some of the services offered would be to not only give back to the school, but to the community as well,” Smith said.

Jocelyn Sahgun who is a fifth-year psychology and criminology major is highly interested in being a part of the NAACP club.

“I would definitely like to be involved in this club because I like what the NACCP stands for,” Sahgun said.

According to the NAACP website, its mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

Coordinator of student activities, Josh Edrington, thinks it is a great idea to have a club stem from a national organization.

“All I ask for is a letter of approval [from the national organization] for Fresno State’s name,” Edrington said.

In order for a new club to be recognized on campus, founders must complete an application packet, adopt a constitution and return it to the Student Activities Office before recognition can be granted.

“An upcoming club can be granted temporary recognition in order to get the word out around campus about what the new organization is, its purpose and to increase membership numbers,” Edrington said.

Dr. Francine Oputa, director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute, is one faculty member who supports what Smith is trying to do.

“I believe young people have a certain energy and new ideas. They are willing to push to give things another try. It’s always exciting to see what they’ll accomplish,” Oputa said.

Oputa is in the process of helping Smith find an advisor for the NAACP college branch and will act as temporary advisor if need be.

The club is currently in the process of completing and submitting all necessary forms and Smith plans to begin meetings next semester.

“I hope everybody gets involved with this organization, because I believe it’s a great opportunity to better ourselves as a minority. I also hope everyone gives this wonderful organization an opportunity and that we welcome it with open arms,” Sahgun said.

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