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Features

Canes Central officially opens

On February 19, 2021, a Grand Opening & Ribbon Cutting marked the end of the Canes Central renovation project. The program included remarks from President Neal Weaver, Georgia State Senator Freddie Powell Sims, University System of Georgia Regent Barbara Rivera Holmes, USG Chancellor Steve Wrigley, and SGA President Savannah Hall. After the ribbon cutting, the GSW community had the opportunity to explore the building and interact with Canes Central staff.

The building, formerly the Academic Center for Excellence, now houses the Offices of Recruitment and Admissions, Student Financial Aid, First-Year Experience, and Student Accounts.

The full ceremony is available on GSW’s YouTube channel, a recap was published by Americus News, and a photo album is available on GSW’s Facebook page.

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GSW celebrates Black History Month

Georgia Southwestern observed Black History Month through a number of campus events and explorations of campus history.

Delta Sigma Theta recognized as the first Black student organization on campus

This #BlackHistoryMonth, we are exploring the history of the first Black student organization on Georgia Southwestern’s campus, which was established 50 years ago this year.

Although the first Black students were admitted to GSW in the mid-1960s and enrollment continued to grow into the 1970s, Black students were very much still in the minority on campus.

“African American students wanted a sense of belonging,” said Dr. Oneida Ingram, who transferred to GSW from Albany State University in 1969. “White organizations on campus did not extend an invitation for membership in their organizations. Black students were reluctant to try and join. There was a strong feeling of isolation.”

This urge to belong left Ingram and other students looking to start their own organization. But the road was not smooth. In order to establish a student organization, they needed a faculty or staff member to sponsor them.

As luck would have it, Mrs. Willie Pearl Fuse Wilborn had just been hired as a counselor and GSW’s first Black faculty member in 1970. And Mrs. Willie already had a connection to one of the largest historically African American Greek-lettered sororities in the country: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Learn more about Delta Sigma Theta’s history on campus here, and explore more of GSW’s past using #GSWHistory on Facebook or Instagram.

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AnthonyHandAAMICampus events recognize Black History Month

On February 2, Residential Leader Josiah Webb hosted Black History Month trivia in Pines. The lobbies of all three residential communities were decorated for Black History Month as well.

On February 9, GSW alumnus and former AAMI member Anthony Hand, Jr. served as the keynote speaker for the African American Male Institute (AAMI) Black History Program. His speech, “Let’s Just Celebrate,” covered his time spent at GSW, notable icons, his life as of today and motivation to the AAMI members to keep going academically to succeed. Hand is currently Coordinator of Orientation and Transitional Programs at the University of North Georgia Dahlonega Campus. Pictured from left to right are Jordan Ford, AAMI Administrative Assistant; Anthony Hand Jr.; Jay Johnson, AAMI Peer Mentor; and Mr. Ervin D. Anderson, Executive Director GSW AAMI.

On February 23, the Windows to the World event "Narratives of Fugivity" focused on the quilting art of 19th century ex-slave Harriet Powers of Georgia. Led by Dr. Elizabeth Hamilton of Fort Valley State University's Visual and Performing Arts and Media Studies, the event explored the perspective Powers' quilts provide on both specific 19th c. freedom politics as well as larger African Diasporic perspectives of African American women in the era of Jim Crow.

On February 24, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Student Engagement Team hosted an event that opened the floor for students to share their experiences in life and in college that impacted their mental health, with a focus on Black students and COVID. The conversation was led by Coordinator of Student Rights and Responsibilities Travis Crafter.

PamLeverett1Retiree Profile: Pamela Leverett

GSW retiree Pamela Leverett was hired as Senior Secretary for Residence Life on October 1, 1985, making her one of the first Black employees in what was then Student Life. At that time, only five or six others were working in Student Life. “I was told that I was one of the first African Americans to work in the Office of Student Life which is now the Office of Student Engagement and Success,” she said.

During her time on campus, Pamela advised a number of student organizations, including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. (AKA), Serviceable Adaptable Beautiful and United (SABU), the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC), and the GSW Gospel Choir. When asked about some of her favorite memories on campus, Pamela said “the interaction and involvement of African American students and white students at campus events and activities in the Marshall Student Center Crestroom. My office was in the area so I could easily be involved with them. I also enjoyed Homecomings when the students come back and talk about how they have achieved their goals and accomplishments. Students would often tell me that I was their mother away from home.”

During her time on campus, Pamela earned one promotion and two title changes. She retired on July 7, 2017 as the Administrative Assistant for the Vice President for Student Affairs and returned part-time from September 2017 to December 2018.

Student-athletes help distribute over 33,000 lbs. of food to local families in need

GSW student-athletes participated in the Farmers to Families Food Box distribution event on Friday, February 19, 2021 at First Baptist Church in Americus. The drive-through event, the second to be held in Sumter County, was a huge success thanks to the Rotary Club of Americus, Harvest of Hope Food Pantry, Georgia Cold Storage and the volunteers. Over 1,100 boxes of food (30 lbs. each) filled with meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables were distributed to families in need throughout Sumter County. The nationwide program is made possible by the USDA who partners with farmers, ranchers, specialty crop producers, food processors and distributors, and non-profit organizations to ensure all Americans have access to fresh and wholesome food during the COVID-19 national emergency.

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