By Jordan Beach
Seven years ago, the African Descendants Student Association began collecting books to deliver to schools and orphanages in Nigeria. As RU celebrates the Year of Nigeria this academic year, the cause takes on new meaning.
Reinhardt has collected and shipped approximately 50,000 books over the years to Nigerian students, making the University the largest donor to the libraries that receive the donations.
Nigeria native Tunji Adesesan, director of the Academic Support Office, expressed how much of an impact the collected books make in the lives of students thousands of miles from Reinhardt.
“Through the books, we are equipping the universities with the tools they need to help their students and faculty as well as empower the student through knowledge,” said Adesesan. “Knowledge is power. We have been able to bless many universities in Nigeria with books.”
Reinhardt’s connection with Nigerian universities has gone beyond book donations. In 2017, President Kina Mallard traveled to Nigeria to visit Edwin Clark University and sign an articulation agreement to form a partnership.
“In the state of Georgia, Reinhardt University is the only private institution that is involved in this honorable project,” Adesesan said of Reinhardt’s involvement in Afrika Reads. “Reinhardt sets the pace.”
Donation boxes are located in most buildings on Reinhardt’s campus. Any book that could be used in a library are accepted for donation, such as children’s books, college textbooks, novels, magazines, comics, journals, dictionaries, puzzles, encyclopedias, inspirational books and self-help books.
This year’s project incorporates into Reinhardt’s celebration of Nigeria, in the “Year of Nigeria” programming. Since 2003, Reinhardt has chosen a region of the world for students to focus learning about through in-depth study and hands-on interaction. The events and connections created through this effort hope to promote understanding of varied cultures, businesses, histories, geographies and faiths, and to help internationalize the Reinhardt experience.
This year highlights Nigeria and will explore the country through events to be scheduled throughout the academic year and will include lectures, music, a film-and-discussion series, a travel tour, and many others.