The African Diaspora of Elon hosted its first event of the academic year Sept. 4, welcoming new and returning students back to campus with “Waist Beads, Culture and Community.”

Waist beads represent weight gain, loss, fertility, womanhood and charity, according to sophomore and club president Khairi Morrow. Each color of bead has a different meaning. Morrow said this event was open to everyone and a way to teach those in attendance about the history behind waist beads.

“Our main concern is to have that sense of community to fully be yourself and relax, especially on campus where everything is so high pressure and heightened, and just kind of like an escape place,” Morrow said. 

The African Diaspora club was revitalized this year with a new name and new leadership at its helm. Formerly called the Elon African Society, the organization changed its name to be more inclusive of backgrounds and nationalities. 

“Our main focus with these events was to bring both the Black community and also the African community together,” Morrow said. 

Sophomore and African Diaspora treasurer Hannah Bekolo was responsible for purchasing all of the beads, string and other craft items needed to make the waist beads. She said the organization has helped her become less introverted.

“I was able to make better connections with a lot of the first-years coming in, which is one of my big things,” said Bekolo. “I want to make sure that everybody feels welcome coming into Elon. That's definitely helped me become more social and also be more organized.”

Morrow said anyone looking to join the organization and participate in similar activities can visit the African Diaspora of Elon page on PhoenixCONNECT.