VOLUME 32, NUMBER 31 THURSDAY, May 3, 2001

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Takiyah Nur Amin, a graduating senior majoring in dance, will speak for the student body at UB's 155th general commencement ceremony on Sunday.

Why did you want to be the student speaker?

I wanted to be student speaker because I have had a unique experience at UB and I wanted to share that with the graduates and their families. I came here, transferred to a private university and came back to UB, so my experience has been filled with plenty of ups and downs. I wanted an opportunity to inspire.

How do you feel about leaving UB?

I am thrilled to be leaving UB, having exhausted my opportunities here, but I know that part of this joy is from knowing that I am prepared to handle what lies ahead.

What are some of your personal highlights of your career at UB?

Highlights of my career here include being named homecoming queen, Miss Black Student Union, Miss Cabaret, a New York State Student Assembly delegate, a Perry Watkins Scholar, a J. Scott Fleming Award recipient, and a diversity advocate; winning the Nancy Welch Award; receiving recognition from the Black Student Union, Black Women United and the Office of Multicultural Affairs; participating in the Black College Dance Exchange; joining and becoming president of Malika Kambe Umfazi Sorority Inc., and making lifelong friends.

What do you consider UB's main strength and weakness?

UB's strength is its diverse student body. We have people here with all kinds of backgrounds, and beliefs and abilities to draw from. UB's weakness, I feel, is its lack of true multicultural education in the various departments. This reality makes a mockery of that same student body and goes a long way in affecting how students feel about their experiences here.

What would you say is the key to succeeding at UB?

The key to succeeding at UB is making people know and respect who you are. I would tell a freshman to find out where the power is-whether in the Student Association, the administration, classes and otherwise-and define a space for yourself there. Put yourself in a place where your voice will be heard and you can make viable, lasting contributions to the university, like I believe I did.

What are your plans after graduation?

My plans after graduation are to earn a master's degree in performing-arts management and later a Ph.D. in dance research and notation. Ideally, I want to run my own multi-level arts organization and school, where I can continue my creative pursuits and contribute to the social consciousness of the community-at-large.

What question do you wish I had asked, and how would you have answered it?

I wish you had asked who helped me to make it through this experience at UB! I would like to thank Dr. Donna Rice; Sharon Sanford; Dr. Alexis Masani Deveaux; my mom, Karima; my grandfather, Harvey; my aunts, Wendy and Elizabeth; my sister, Sabriyah; my sisters in Malika Kambe Umfazi Sorority; my other many friends, and the amazing and dynamic Afrikan-American community of Buffalo that had a hand in raising me.

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