African American Studies

Affiliated Student Organizations

The following programs are affiliated with the African American Studies department, and/or are sponsored by an AAS faculty member:

Student Council (CAS)

African American Studies Majors are eligible to serve as department representative to the College of Arts & Sciences Student Council.  Each academic year, one student
and one alternate upper-classman AAS major are selected by the faculty based on their academic standing and their involvement in the Department to represent their peers on this active and involved student body. (Learn more...)

African American Studies Department Club (AASDC) - AAS Faculty, Advisors.

An active African American Studies Departmental Club promotes Africa American Studies as a major at Western Illinois University, while educating others about the African American experience in the United States. The department club won the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council 2006 Departmental Student Organization Award. It remains one of the best college student organization to help students remain engaged with scholarship, culture, and community. The AASDC meets weekly on campus.

United Voices of Western Inspirational Singers (UVOWIS) - Alphonso Simpson, Jr., Faculty Advisor/Choir Director.

A campus ensemble performs at various concerts and other venues on and off campus.  Our goal is to prepare choir members to reproduce the sound and style of African American gospel music.  Sub-genres learned include: traditional and contemporary gospel and praise and worship music.  The primary focus of the choir is on ministry and performance. Instruction not only includes vocal coaching, but a wide range of gospel choir techniques and etiquette.  There are NO auditions required to join this group. For more information on rehearsal/performance times and dates, please contact Dr. Alphonso Simpson, Jr. at 309/298-2360 or 

Picture Perfect Modeling Troop - Renee Simpson, Advisor.

Picture Perfect Modeling Troupe was established in Fall 2009 by student founder, Johnny Razor. The group has introduced to the campus many aspects of the modeling industry using specialized photography, innovative fashion, unique runway modeling techniques and mechanics. Picture Perfect has taken part in various service and health awareness events for its members and the surrounding community. The ultimate goal of the group has been to enhance opportunities for students through participation in the professional modeling experience.


In addition to the student organizations listed, the University offers other social and cultural organizations for students of African-American heritage, these include: Gwendolyn Brooks Cultural Center, Black Student Association, African Student Association, GBCC Dance Troupe, Cultural ExpressionsNAACP (Collegiate Chapter), and several historically Black fraternities and sororities. For more information on student organizations contact the Office of Student Activities.