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ASCRF Students


ASCC ASCRF Student Club Balances Civic Engagement with Academic Support

January 29, 2014

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer  

Director Mrs. Matesina Willis envisions the American Samoa College Research Foundation (ASCRF) as evolving into an important resource to assist the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) in fulfilling its mission. Through networking and fundraising, the ASCRF intends to fund supplementary activities for ASCC such as additional scholarships and professional development initiatives. Currently, Mrs. Willis is guiding the Foundation through several organizational and legal requirements which pertain to organizations that will take in revenue for non-profit purposes. These pending technicalities include the selection a full ASCRF Board of Trustees, which must be finalized before the organization can begin its efforts on the scale Mrs. Willis is aiming for.

Even while still working through the organizational process that will allow it to pursue its goals at full capacity, the Foundation has attracted a number of students who wish to participate in the work the ASCRF is presently laying the groundwork for. The ASCRF Student Club assists the Foundation in promoting awareness of its purpose through projects such as bake sales and car washes, while also providing a mutual support group to help each other succeed academically. “I believe that the club and its members have helped to motivate other students here at ASCC to begin their own clubs, and focus on academics rather than just hanging out with friends,” said ASCRF Administrative Assistant Mrs. Tiare Tupua.  “They emphasize utilizing their time wisely and effectively to make a difference in their college lives.”

The membership of the ASCRF Student Club coalesced last semester around a group who assisted the Foundation informally, and has since become one of the recognized clubs on campus registered with the Student Support Services Division. “This semester is the second semester since we've started the club, and the students have really come to understand the importance of what we try to encourage,” Tupua further explained.  “The Foundation wants the students to first be mindful of their academics, and second to think about their future, and whether they want to continue their education after ASCC or move directly into the work force. As they work with the Foundation on assigned tasks, we hope to assist them in becoming responsible, trustworthy and honest individuals.”

On a social level, the club conducts internally-organized tutoring sessions for its members, who also help one another stay abreast of school deadlines and opportunities that arise such as scholarship announcements. Several club members also emphasized that an important aspect of working under the ASCRF is learning what goes into creating educational opportunities for others. “So far I've learned the great deal of work it takes to fundraise and put together projects,” said club member Manu Thomas, 18, a Visual Arts major. “This club is good way for students to become aware of educational benefits that could help them in the future, which is a good reason why the community should support us.”

James Maae, also 18 and double majoring in Health Science and Liberal Arts, expressed appreciation for both the internal and external aspects of club membership. “T his club pretty much has everything because tutor sessions are done with other members and our advisors act as counselors and assist us with our classes and problems,” he said. “The club is steered towards enhancing the learning aspect and environment of ASCC, and it assists students, other clubs, and ASCC departments through fundraisers and sponsorship.”

Liberal Arts major Anna Iosefo, 17, praised the “structural balance” the ASCRF Student Club provides its members. “ The Foundation envisions students striving to achieve their best and it seeks to be the catalyst to their success,” she said. “The community should support this club because it helps build long lasting relationships that can benefit students both socially and academically.”

As the club plans its calendar for this semester, Tupua said it will include working with the ASCC Alumni Association to present workshops she hopes will enhance the professional development of club members and other ASCC students. The club will also collaborate with the Community and Natural Resources Wellness Center on campus health awareness projects, and assist the Student Government Association with several planned projects. For more information on the American Samoa College Research Foundation and its Student Club, call 699-9155 and ask for Mrs. Matesina Willis at extension 301 or Mrs. Tiare Tupua at extension 401.