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Welcome to the 2024 version of Western Carolina University’s “The Black Fantastic.” This is a series that began in 2022 when the University Communications and Marketing team wanted to find a way to highlight excellence among a few of WCU’s Black faculty and staff members. The award-winning project has been so well-received that we decided to center this year’s version around some of WCU’s outstanding African American students.

Asha, Sr., Charlotte 

Asha Charlotte

It’s something about being in Cullowhee at Western Carolina University that allows students to reach their full potential and become someone they never thought they would be. Asha, a senior from Charlotte, is yet another example of that. Yes, that’s Asha with no last name, courtesy of her dad who decided she would be the only family member (which consists of her parents and four other siblings) that would not have one. While in high school, Asha always wanted to be an active student. The problem was she was painfully shy.

“I wanted to have that passion and that drive, but I’m a super shy person,” she said. “It wasn’t until I got to college that I kind of branched out into my own and started manifesting all of the things I said I would be.” 

Did she ever. Just a few of the things she’s done in her time at WCU: helped found the Global Black Studies student organization of which she previously served as president and is now vice president; directed of the Inspirational Gospel Choir; became a member of Project Care and the Intercultural Affairs Council. 

Helping found the Global Black Studies organization is one of Asha’s favorite accomplishments. Upon learning that WCU was adding a Global Black Studies minor, of she jumped at the chance to add that to her psychology major. “I was like, ‘Who is the director, how can I get in contact with him?’ I was emailing everybody,” she said.  

It was while taking a GBS 200 class when Asha learned about the Black student movement of the 1960s and how they fought to get Black studies on campuses, and spaces for Black people, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders and Latinx students that she wanted to have a similar outlet at WCU. So, she and other students in the minor met with GBS director David Walton.  

“We provided founding statements with goals and what we wanted to represent,” Asha said. “We want to educate and highlight global Blackness. Anyone who is Black anywhere gets a voice in our organization. That was the main driving force in the founding of it.” 

Asha is scheduled to graduate this fall, at which time she plans to go to graduate school for mental health counseling. Her goal is to become an art therapist.  

“I’m an artist and I realized how much art was a healing modality for me,” Asha said. “In my most stressed out, or most clouded time, art was the place I could go to and kind of just explore myself, my mind, my everything.   

“I want to curate more artists, allow people to find other forms of therapy that aren’t traditional because … there are other ways to engage talking and healing. Art therapy was combining my two favorite things – talking and art.” 

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