From Arkansas Tech University:
RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (February 1, 2013)--As Lindsey McDaniel stood back and watched the balloons fly away on a blustery and cold afternoon on the Arkansas Tech University campus on Friday, she felt the pride that Black History Month was designed to create.
"I see a great deal of progress," said McDaniel, president of the Arkansas Tech African-American Student Association and sophomore biology major from Morrilton. "Our president is Barack Obama, and he is a black man. There are many people that are in leadership positions that are black, and I am thankful to them for stepping up and for them to have the right to do that."
McDaniel and several dozen of her fellow Arkansas Tech students gathered at Hindsman Tower on Friday for a kick-off celebration and balloon release to mark the beginning of Black History Month 2013.
It was the first in a series of educational, cultural and social events related to African-American heritage that Arkansas Tech will participate in during February.
The month-long celebration is co-sponsored by the African-American Student Association, the Office of Student Services, the Department of History and Political Science, the College of Arts and Humanities and the Student Activities Board at Arkansas Tech University.
"Our student population is growing rapidly, including our African-American student population," said Kevin Solomon, associate dean for campus life at Arkansas Tech. "This is just one way that we can support what they are doing and put our resources behind them. We have a great group of students this year in the African-American Student Association, and they have a lot of great ideas. I'm looking forward to some of the different things we have going on this month. I think it's going to be very successful."
According to the common data set produced by Arkansas Tech on an annual basis, the number of African-American undergraduate students enrolled at the university increased by 75.4 percent from fall 2009 to fall 2012.
McDaniel said that she would like to see the Arkansas Tech African-American Student Association grow its membership, and she noted that any student regardless of ethnic background is welcome to join the organization.
"A lot of people aren't aware of black history," said McDaniel. "I think it's important to have a month designated for that to show what was done for the people of our race so that we can enjoy the rights we have today. Some people take it for granted. We are all the same and we should all have the same rights."