Student Leader Working to Help Improve Inclusiveness on Campus

January 2, 2020

During the National Conference on Student Leadership in Orlando this November, Wentworth senior Jasmine Andrade spoke of her experience leading multiple student organizations as a voice of underrepresented students.

An Interdisciplinary Engineering student, Andrade is the co-founder of Wentworth’s Cape Verdean Student Association. She was formerly the vice president of the Multicultural Student Association and a collegiate member of the National Society of Black Engineers.

“Students of color, international students, those not from the majority group may feel they don’t have a sense of belonging on a college campus. They might feel alone and don’t have anybody to relate to,” Andrade says. “I want to change this and help everyone feel they are a part of the community.”

Andrade’s family comes from Cape Verde, an island country in Africa. She grew up in a predominantly African American community in Maryland.

She went on to form Wentworth’s Cape Verdean Student Association in 2017 and organized events including Kizomba Socials and the Bachata vs. Kizomba Dancing Competition.

Kizomba is a popular dance type in some Africa countries, while Bachata finds popularity in Latin America.

People can learn some moves, make friends and enjoy cultural food, and everyone from the Colleges of the Fenway is welcomed, says Andrade.

Wentworth doesn’t have a large population of students from Cape Verde, but Andrade believes it is important to continually put on events.

“It doesn’t really matter the quantity of people who show up in an event, but the quality you put into it,” said Andrade.

In addition to the dancing events, Andrade and her team members also held open panel discussions focusing on topics like “The Evolution of Cape Verdean Culture” and “How Were You Raised?”

In coalition with the National Society of Black Engineers, they organized a discussion called “Voice of the People” in October 2018.  Activists from the Wentworth community including some alumni talked about civic duty and community engagement.

“Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and stressed,” said Andrade. Because the student organizations take her a lot of time and herself as a leader doesn’t want to disappoint the whole team.

“I’m not perfect at time management, but I think it’s important to find priorities in the schedule, stick to the schedule, and not take too much at one time,” she offers as advice.

Andrade is graduating in August, but she would like to stay connected with the Cape Verdean Student Association and other student organizations she served. “I will support them and attend their events. They are like my babies,” she says.

Christopher Scanlon, the associate director of the Center for Student Engagement and Andrade’s mentor, believed that Andrade’s legacy will live on long after she graduates because she has made the campus a better place.

“As a leader,” Scanlon says, “Jasmine continually considers how her work has an effect on improving the Wentworth community and taking on important, critical issues to support an environment of inclusive excellence.”

--Yunjia Hou

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