Black Student Advising

The Sankofa Bird

“Sankofa” is an African word from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The translation of this term means to “go back and get it”. The Sankofa bird symbolizes the Akan people’s quest for knowledge, in the context of critical examination, intelligence, and patient investigation. The symbol itself – shown in the photo above – is based on a mythical creature, a bird, in which its feet are planted firmly forward, while its head looks backward. It is believed by the Akan peoples that past experiences serve as a guide for planning for the future. To the Akan, it is the wisdom in learning from the past that helps to ensure a strong future.

For more information regarding the Sankofa bird, its historical context, and resources explored, visit, https://www.berea.edu/cgwc/the-power-of-sankofa/

Black Nova Scotia 

StFX strives to create a living and learning community where we can all thrive. 

We believe that in a community of equity and inclusion, you can openly and comfortably bring your whole self to school every day and feel a sense of belonging and safety. We know that when you can bring your whole self, it enhances your learning.  

In the spirit of equity and inclusion, let's take a moment to situate StFX geographically and culturally.

We would like to recognize the African Nova Scotian communities who have called this land their home for the last four hundred years, and who have also been marginalized and excluded in this territory. 

Peoples of African descent are a vibrant part of Nova Scotia’s past. These individuals have made Nova Scotia their home and have contributed to the fabric and success of today’s province. Nova Scotia can be said to be the birthplace of black culture and heritage in Canada, boasting the largest Indigenous Black community in Canada.

Today these rich settlers make up the African Nova Scotian community, and today, over 400 years later call Nova Scotia their home. During their time, they've settled in 52 historic communities, such as some of the well-known communities of Shelburne, Africville, East Preston, Annapolis Royal, Cherry Brook, Halifax, Sydney, Antigonish, Springhill, North Preston, and Beechville to name a few.

StFX affirms that Black lives matter, as we continue to address the intersections of racism, colonialism, and sexism in our communities.  ​For more information on African Nova Scotian history, click here.

The Black Student Advising Office 

The Black Student Advising Office is open to all members of the St. FX community.

Any student regardless of race, culture, or creed is welcome to participate in and make use of office activities and resources which include, but are not limited to, advising services, financial resources, and academic supports, where appropriate.

Students are welcome to study, read, relax, and connect with other students in an inclusive and supportive learning environment at their leisure. 

Changes Within the Office

Over the past few months, our office has undergone significant changes in terms of our operations and the execution of our Student Advisor position. Many who have adhered to our office in the past have known our Advisor position to be called the African Descent Student Affairs Coordinator. Due to a recent change in the Terms of Reference, along with extensive collaboration with the Student Life team, Community Members, and valued stakeholders, we came to decide that the best way to fully represent our students in a well, diversified manner, is to make the appropriate changes. With that, you can now refer to our office as the Black Student Advising Office, and furthermore, refer to our newly revised Coordinator position as the Black Student Advisor. 

Role of the Black Student Advisor 

The Black Student Advisor promotes and honours the diversified culture of the African Diaspora at St.FX. The Black Student Advisor's mandate is to ensure that students of African Descent are supported, guided, and encouraged throughout their post-secondary journey. This is accomplished in several ways, including, providing educational opportunities to the wider campus community, celebrating Black Culture through a variety of on-campus activities and events, providing one-on-one and group support to Black and African Nova Scotian students, and, advocating on behalf of students of African Descent to various stakeholders. 

Addressing students' needs is the utmost priority of the Black Student Advisor. Moreover, we believe that with persistence and a tailored one-on-one experience, Black students will be able to thrive and succeed throughout their academic careers. 

Services

In addition to providing specialized assistance in the area of Student Life, the Black Student Advisor also works to:

  • Foster time management, organization, and study skills, to Black and African Nova Scotian students who may be struggling in these areas
  • Assist Black and African Nova Scotian students with course content, assignments, and tutoring services
  • Connect Black and African Nova Scotian students to volunteering opportunities, as well as peer mentorship, career mentorship, and other services and opportunities within the wider community
  • Provide financial information and assistance where possible, as well as connect students to sufficient financial resources as they present themselves
  • Host on-campus events, and work with stakeholders to facilitate events that promote culture and diversity at StFX
  • Advocate, mediate, and liaison on behalf of Black and African Nova Scotian students as it relates to culturally sensitive and academic issues

Resources 

  • Employment Opportunities
  • Financial Opportunities 
  • Community Organizations Network
  • Graduate Degrees Information (Law, MEd, PhD, Sciences)
  • Student Networks and Societies
  • Mentorship and Coaching
  • Volunteering Opportunities
  • Newsletters and much more

Announcements

Ancestral Roots - Virtual Symposium 

November 9th & 10th from 10:00am - 1:00pm; Registration Now Open!

The Ancestral Roots™ Symposium: Intergenerational Learning for Transformative Leadership is focused on bridging the gap between generations regarding learning and personal transformation. This two-day opportunity will support young adult leaders (ages 18 to 35) of African ancestry to grow their leadership talents and strengths, and to foster cross-campus relationship building. The key themes of the gathering are Education, Health, Social Justice, and Human Rights.

Registration Link Available Here - https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtfuupqjMtE9Sg9U1uZbVxstIQ7VoRjypb

Law School Admission Test (LSAT)

Are you African Nova Scotian or Mi'kmaw and thinking about Law School?

This session is to help prepare for the LSAT tests the week of Jan. 21, 2021. Deadline to register for these tests is Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020. Please visit https://www.lsac.org/ for more information on test dates, fees, testing centers, and registration deadlines. All sessions will take place via video conference (Zoom), and a link will be sent to all registered participants prior to the sessions.

International Decade for People of African Descent 

As proclaimed by the General Assembly, and recognized from 2015 - 2024, the international community recognizes that people of African descent represent a distinct group whose human rights must be promoted and protected. The framework adopted by the United Nations provides a commitment for Nation members and the greater, civil majority to come together to promote and achieve social justice and development for people of African Descent. 

To learn more about the history and significance of the International Decade for People of African Descent, visit https://www.un.org/en/observances/decade-people-african-descent

Employment / Volunteer Opportunities

Elections Nova Scotia - African Nova Scotian Liasion Officer (Deadline - Friday, October 16th) - Part-Time

Financial Assistance / Opportunities 

St. Francis Xavier University Financial Aidhttps://www2.mystfx.ca/financial-aid/

Delmore "Buddy" Daye Learning Institute (DBDLI) https://dbdli.ca/wp-content/uploads/DBDLI-2020-Scholarship-book-AUG_2020_WEB.pdf

Community Resources / Contacts

Type of Resource 

Resource Available

Community Resources / Elders (Covers all Communities)

Brianna Waterman - Student Success Teacher

Delmore "Buddy" Daye Learning Institute 

Jennifer Desmond - Educator

Jermal Mansfield - DBDLI Youth Worker

Juanita Byard - BEA Regional Educator

Lorraine Reddick - Student Support Worker/Educator

Mary Desmond - Community Elder/Educator/Retired Nurse

Morgan Gero - Youth African Drumming Group/Educator

Pasty Borden - Curator at Friendship Centre

Sabrina Skinner - Student Support Worker 

Summer-Joy Upshaw - Black Student Advisor

Tanya Tobin - Student Success Teacher 

Tara Reddick - Playwriter/Artist/Educator 

Tera Dorrington - Educator

Assets

Antigonish Museum 

Antigonish Cultural Academic Enrichment Program (CAEP)

Equity and Inclusivity - Anti-Racism Module Training 

*TBA*

Black Student Societies / Recruitment 

BLACC Student Society

In collaboration with the Black Student Advising Office, St.FX offers a vibrant and cutting-edge student society, BLACC. The BLACC student society is a support group for students, specifically those of African Descent, who are susceptible to racial injustice. Not only does the BLACC student society offer on-campus resources and supports to students of African Descent, but it is also an educational space for students and accompanying allies to come, connect, share, and learn from one another's 'lived experience'. 

BLACC provides a safe space and sense of community for students of African Descent, as they recognize the disparities that exist amongst social and racial groups. Involvement with the BLACC student society provides an array of leadership opportunities to students who are of Bi-racial, Latin, American-African, Caribbean, and Canadian descent. 

Recruitment and Leadership Opportunities

The BLACC student society functions as a student-led unit with varying roles. See how you can get involved https://wopita.com/stfxblaccsociety

  • General Collective (Three (3) members)
  • First Year Connector
  • Senior Connector
  • Communications Liasion (Students' Union Representative Council Member; Representative for Students of African Descent) 

 

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/xblaccsoc

 https://www.instagram.com/stfxblaccsociety/

 xblaccsoc@gmail.com

StFX X-Project 

X-Project is a student-led society at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. that offers small group educational assistance, recreational programming, and leadership opportunities for African Canadian / African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw youth in six neighboring communities in the surrounding area. It has been in existence since 1965 and is run entirely by volunteers. 

Each year X-Project is invited by the six communities - Antigonish, Paqtnkek, Guysborough, Pictou Landing, Port Hawkesbury, and New Glasgow - to provide programming for children. Community members support X-Project through serving as board members, training new volunteers, coordinating registration in their own communities, offering their homes for programming nights, and volunteering in various other capacities. 

X-Project is always looking for new and returning volunteers. Additionally, it is a great way to become more involved with the surrounding communities and offers a unique opportunity to increase one's cultural awareness and make new friends.

Programs Available

SMALL GROUP EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE:

Each week a number of student volunteers board vans and buses and head out to the communities to work with the children in their homes and/or in community centers, helping with homework, playing educational games, and being a mentor. X-Project's goal is to support children to be successful in school and to help them set goals for their future. Occasionally X-Project also works with adult learners who may be back in school or just looking to improve their education levels.​

SATURDAY PROGRAMS:

Approximately four times each term, youth from the communities are brought to the St.F.X. campus for recreational programs such as sports days, Halloween and Christmas parties, swimming, bowling, and skating.​

YOUTH LEADERSHIP PROGRAMS:

Each year X-Project works with teens in the communities to provide youth leadership programs. This often involves several Saturday trips to the university to meet as a group and participate in activities and workshops that help to develop leadership skills. The youth leaders also help to plan workshops and activities for their own communities and act as leaders for recreational programs and weekly educational assistance. Each March, the youth leaders come to St.F.X. to participate in the youth leadership weekend where they engage in activities and workshops that they have helped to plan throughout the year.

 

 https://www.facebook.com/groups/290018111008676

 

 https://www.instagram.com/stfxproject/

 

https://xproject1.wixsite.com/xproject

 

Student Resource Lounge 

Located on the 4th floor of the Bloomfield Centre & Students' Union Building, is the Black Student Advising office in the Diversity Engagement Centre. 

The Diversity Engagement Centre at StFX is a space dedicated to enhancing the university's efforts to support traditionally underrepresented student populations on campus. The three advisory offices serve as a support point for students who feel they need the ear of someone who has had similar lived experiences.

The Diversity Engagement Centre (DEC) offers a positive environment for all students to experience and understand societal differences through open conversation, educational programming, and social activities.

Adinkra Symbols & Meanings

Adinkra are visual symbols that encapsulate evocative messages conveying traditional wisdom, philosophical thoughts and ideas, and aspects of life and the environment. To learn more, visit https://www.adinkrabrand.com/blog/african-adinkra-symbols-and-meanings/

Knowledge 

 

 

Creativity

Unity

 

Proverb / Word of the Month

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

African Proverb 

 

Social Media 

 Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/stfxadsa

 

 Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/stfx_adsa/

 

  Twitter - https://twitter.com/stfxadsa

 

  Contact Us

  Summer-Joy Upshaw (she/her)
  Black Student Advisor

  Virtual Office Hours • 9:00 am - 5:00 pm • Monday - Friday

  433 Bloomfield Centre | P.O. Box 52

  St. Francis Xavier University | P.O. Box 5000
  Antigonish | Nova Scotia | B2G 2W5
  P: 902.867.5455 | E: x2014gpu@stfx.ca