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New Cape Verdean Student Association
has plans for an exciting year
Sept. 11, 2013
Octavian “Bena” Goncalves has developed a deep appreciation for his roots over the past decade of his life. Goncalves, a General Business and General Studies double major at the Community College of Rhode Island’s Liston Campus, is Cape Verdean.
He said that while he was at first largely unaware of his heritage, spending time with his father’s side of the family gave him more of a connection to the small African island nation. “When I came to CCRI a few years ago,” he said, “it gave me even more of a connection to the culture and a passion for it.”
Inspired by the diversity of the Liston Campus, Goncalves said that during the spring semester, he began to hatch a plan to organize the new Cape Verdean Student Association, now an official club.
“I had a lot of friends of Cape Verdean descent, and a lot of people said they’d be interested in joining and learning more about the culture,” he said, pointing out that while URI has one such association, CCRI did not.
Goncalves, who also serves as the director of marketing for the Liston Student Government, said that it took a few months to gather all the necessary paperwork and signatures. “I had a number of friends, all of whom had some experience starting clubs, to help me complete the process, which I’m grateful for. Everything came together,” he said of the group.
By late August, the group had about 15 members enrolled. “I think we’ll see more membership once the fall semester starts,” said Goncalves, who has been happy with the interest so far. Now that the semester is underway, the group meets from 1 to 2 p.m. every Friday in Room 1182 at the Liston Campus.
Among the activities planned for the affinity group are trips to the Cape Verdean Museum in East Providence, cultural fairs to showcase the nation’s dishes, and dances to celebrate the traditional music and dance of the islands. Goncalves said he anticipated students would enjoy the cuisine – such as catchupa, a soup made with meat, beans and corn – and the “smooth, relaxing and unique” sounds of Cape Verdean music.
Goncalves said that starting the organization has been “very rewarding,” noting that “it’s been a long process, but it’s a great feeling now that it’s official.” He added that his family was particularly proud of him, especially his cousins, who helped to start the Cape Verdean Association at URI.