The African American Heritage Festival (AAHF) is a weeklong celebration of the narratives, traditions, and histories that contribute to the African and African American (AFAM) experience! There are a number of programs that take place throughout the festival. Although some programs change year-to-year based on student needs, some staple programmatic categories include spirituality, community dialogue, spoken word-artistic expression, a variety show, and closing celebration. In addition to the events that occur throughout the week, there are also initiatives offered that engage the Ohio State University (OSU) student community in service learning and mentorship of the next generation of Buckeyes. For example, the OSU Reads Program collaborates with local elementary schools to promote literacy. In addition to OSU Reads, the AAHF awards scholarships to graduating seniors during the week of the festival as a means of promoting the importance of attending college. Scholarship recipients are invited to events during the festival to build excitement and participation in college life. These events continue to have a powerful impact on the student leaders who plan the festival, the AFAM community, and the extended OSU community.
The African American Heritage festival continues to be a strong program that has a far-reaching impact. The festival is necessary because it provides a unique educational opportunity that considers the cultural nuances of Black identity. It has an indirect impact on retention and attrition of AFAM students, and contributes to the global diversity of OSU. Student feedback supports these notions. Some direct quotes from our assessments include, “Good food, great music...Great crowd and a lot of participation...I encourage programs like this and would love to see them continue long in to the future” and “Great festivities, definitely a staple in the African American community.”
As we anticipate the historic milestone of the fortieth anniversary of the AAHF, the next two years of programming and development are critical. Preparation for an event of this magnitude will require a more significant level of planning and execution, therefore, in addition to the AAHF student leaders, this undertaking necessitates the involvement of a multitude of key stakeholders and support from donors! We anticipate bringing in nationally recognized performers and speakers, student leaders who helped found the festival, as well as other students who were integral in developing the African American student experience at OSU as we know it today. Any support you can offer will help us continue to build community, increase our visibility, engage more students, and expand the overall impact of the African American Heritage Festival!
2016 marks 38 years for the Annual African American Heritage Festival! This coming festival will center around the word "Mshikamano," which is the Swahili word for Solidarity! The theme, Hand in hand, we stand, will be incorporated throughout the week of the festival! We invite all of The Ohio State University and community members to join us for our annual celebration.
This eight day festival is presented by the Student Life Multicultural Center and co-sponsored by Office of Student Life, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Student Activity Fee, The Ohio State University Alumni Association, Inc., Black Student Association, and Coca-Cola, student organizations and hall councils at The Ohio State University.
Join us for the 38th Annual African American Heritage Festival, Friday, April 3 - 9th, 2016.
Please check the updates tab and our website for details regarding the festival and a breakdown of each program.