By Yasmine Cowan
For The Diamondback
The University of Maryland’s National Association of Black Accountants held its first information discussion in Van Munching Hall Wednesday, post sabbatical, to inform all majors and backgrounds about the chapter’s spring revival.
Its mission statement for the spring 2022 chapter is to support the growth of its members into well-rounded, civically responsible professionals via its pillars of academic excellence, professional development and community, while putting an emphasis on accounting and finance education.
During COVID-19, the association’s retention with membership engagement declined and the association became inactive, but its interim President Alexandra Hargrett, used her position in the Smith Undergraduate Student Association, to help rebrand the chapter.
“I had seen what NABA needed. I knew exactly what needed to be done and what I feel [felt] could be done to fix it,” the junior finance and information systems major said. “It needed to be rebranded — it needed to be revamped.”
Interim Vice President Blessing Njoku said the association plans on collaborating with professors for its group studying and tutoring sessions this semester. Student tutors will be assisting students with their accounting courses.
“Most accounting courses are pretty hard and pretty intense, so we thought it was a really great idea to offer extra resources to help students,” the junior finance and management major said.
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The association is also trying to give younger members an opportunity to take advantage of the leadership development opportunities they offer.
“As older students, we start to get to the place where we start to get our internships lined up, we get our full-time offers and we don’t really have a need for student organizations anymore,” said Hargrett. “But … younger members really can take advantage of these new opportunities.”
“You come back as a junior and senior to give back, to teach, to help the other generations come up,” Hargrett continued.
Hargrett wants junior and senior students to start returning to the club to help the younger members learn from their experiences.
Information systems and marketing major, Meron Henok attended the introductory event for the “family factor” she feels the club offers and the resources they distribute to help other students thrive.
“If you are not a business major or an accounting major itself, you are still learning how to leverage skills such as speaking, presenting, networking with big professionals, and making a brand out of yourself,” the junior said.
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Hargrett said the club plans to provide a variety of opportunities this semester, such as group studying, recurring networking opportunities, scholarships, professional development workshops, leadership development, external community service and an internal business community within the club.
Among the events planned for the club’s spring chapter, Njoku said NABA will be hosting key events like their welcoming event in early February and a Black history event in late February, with another event happening in March. Njoku said there will also be a recruitment and induction for the 2022-23 Executive Board in “mid-to-late April.”
“These e-board positions — every single one — is up for grabs. We [Hargrett and Njoku] are not naming ourselves honorary NABA president and vice president. If we want to run, we’re going to run just like everybody else,” said Hargrett.
Beyond the upcoming school year, the club plans on doing partnerships within the business school and the Accounting & Information Assurance Department along with other student organizations, Njoku added.
Hargrett concluded the event, underscoring how their National Association of Black Accountants chapter hopes to have a significance in college and beyond.
“We are going to emphasize community service projects along with incorporating the civic responsibility into everything that we’re doing,” Njoku said. “And finally to also encourage a strong NABA identity as we’re rebranding and rebuilding ourselves.