by Julia Acquavita ’22
Acklynn Byamugisha ’20 has certainly made her mark throughout her four years here at Providence College, whether it was with her constant organizing and running of campus-wide events, or meeting with her peers to develop new ideas for the Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA).
Byamugisha grew up in Camp Hill, PA, which is about six hours from Friartown. According to Byamugisha, “As a child, we moved all over the place, but a majority was spent in Camp Hill, PA. It’s a very small suburb with horse and buggies, Amish markets, and tons of farm land and is the complete opposite of where people think I am from.” It is safe to say that the city of Providence is much different than the small town Byamugisha originally grew up in.
Now the real question is, how did PC make it onto her radar and why did she choose this school? Byamugisha had always wanted a small liberal arts school far away from home so she could discover her independence and learn what things were like up north.
Byamugisha has definitely discovered her independence here, since she is very active at PC, where she studies health policy and management with a minor in black studies, and serves as the president of BMSA.
When asked why Byamugisha joined BMSA and how she discovered this club in the first place, she explained that when she visited PC as a high school senior, the BMSA office was where she first “flocked” to meet people.
“I remembered it was filled with people laughing, cracking jokes, and I liked the atmosphere. When I learned about its devotion towards multiculturalism and the numerous clubs that were a part of this umbrella organization, I really wanted to be a part of it,” said Byamugisha.
Because of this initial encounter, she found a club within BMSA that she felt resonated with her the most, leading to her engagement in Afro-Am exec her sophomore year. This immediately put her in BMSA.
Regarding her first BMSA meetings, she could tell something lacked, but it was early on and she had hope that things would change. Then, junior year, she became president of Afro-Am. According to Byamugisha, “BMSA got a bit better, but something was still missing. I decided that I wanted to do something about it, so I ran for president. And I realized what was missing, we needed a holistic family approach. Cohesiveness. And after incorporating this into the club this year, I genuinely have had the most fun and I tell them all the time I’m grateful to be president.”
Byamugisha has brought a new approach to BMSA that has helped it to flourish and reach its full potential, allowing her to make a significant mark on the PC community.
Being the president of BMSA has shaped Byamugisha’s experience at PC for the better. Not only has being president of this club allowed her to make history, but she also says, “It has helped me with building character, owning the spaces I am in, and just being unapologetically proud of all the accomplishments made possible through this organization.”
For Byamugisha, becoming president really was the “icing on the cake” for her, as it allowed her to be a part of this legacy that has shown her the impact of leadership and exposed her to experiences she would not have had the privilege of having without this position.
Despite all of Byamugisha’s success here at PC, there will be a time when she must start down her career path. When asked about her future plans, she said she will be receiving two Master’s Degrees from the University of Miami in Florida, one being in Public Health and the other in International Administration.
Byamugisha’s impact on PC and the BMSA community will not be forgotten, since her efforts have changed this organization for the better and helped her make history. However, her future is very bright, and she will continue impacting communities of people in her years to come, just as she has done here at PC.