New BC Central Asians Club Puts Their Name on the CUNY Map 

By T’Neil Gooden

 

   The Brooklyn College Central Asians Club (BCCAC) had its opening event in the Amersfort Lounge of the Student Center on March 22. Students from a variety of backgrounds came to partake in this event not only to meet other individuals in the community, but to also spread their creativity through their artwork. 

   As previously reported by The Vanguard, the Central Asian Club formed to focus on students from the countries of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, with Afghanistan and Mongolia also added to encompass Central Asia. Students of these backgrounds were greeted with canvases, tote bags, and paints to indulge in as they got comfortable with one another, their cultures, and the designs they planned to put on their items. 

   “I came to the event because I love hanging out with my BC community. Painting and eating snacks is a great way to unwind and socialize with fellow classmates,” Daniella Gostev, an urban sustainability major at BC, told The Vanguard. 

   Central Asian students shared stories about their lives through painting as they sat together and learned about all the different cultures of the individuals who came together for this event. 

   “My favorite thing about the event was learning about how diverse the participants at the event were. We had students/staff from around the world eager to support the new BC Central Asian Club and connect with each other through painting,” president of the BCCAC Alexia Bakyt told The Vanguard. 

   Students of Central Asian descent within BC are eager to have a club that represents the lives they have lived and experienced on a day-to-day basis. Students are using this club as a place of community and representation that they had not been provided with before. 

   “As someone who has lived in Central Asia for most of my life, it was important for me to be part of this event. I am glad that we now have a club that could represent people from Central Asia and be a platform for us to be able to share our culture and communicate,” Ruslan Rustamov, a computer science student at BC, told The Vanguard. 

   Students of Central Asian descent within the CUNY system have been yearning for a club that will allow them to be involved in their school systems. Student representatives highlighted that the creation of a community is still needed to create solidarity among the Central Asian population.

   “According to the American Central Asian Association’s 2023 Community Needs Assessment, many Central Asians such as Uzbeks, Turks, and Tajiks, wish to be more involved with the Central Asian Community in the U.S.,” Robert Echevarria, a political science major and an Undergraduate Student Government (USG) senator, told The Vanguard. “I hope this club will bring more community for Central Asian students and bring together so many people from different backgrounds who all share one similarity in common, having a connection to Central Asia.” 

   The creation of the club is not only a first for BC, but it is also the first club dedicated to the Central Asian community in all of CUNY. Club leaders expressed their vision of the club to be a source of support on campus.

   “I hope this club will bring and promote unity amongst all students regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc. I sincerely hope that the BC Central Asians club will be a safe space on campus where students from Central Asia can feel heard and respected,” Bakyt told The Vanguard. 

   In their vision for the club, leaders also expressed the opportunities and connections to be made among those of Central Asian heritage, connecting in solidarity with a shared background in the region.

   “I envision this club fostering more interactivity and stronger relationships among students on the Brooklyn College campus,” Rustamov said. “I hope it becomes a platform not only for socializing, but also for helping students connect with students from Central Asia and other regions.”

 

   Interested students can follow the Central Asians Club on their Instagram, @bccentralasians

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