PROFFAMILY: An Inclusive & Welcoming Group Of Freshmen

PROFFAMILY members stand amongst the trees during fall foliage.

Story header photo, from left: Tara Long, Brandon Sagbo, Jada Johnson, Poku, Aaron Brown, Dianna Schreidl, Jayshalie Jennings

Today we speak with PROFFAMILY. Freshman founder Poku and first members of the group share how it began and how it has helped them transition into being college students.

PROFFAMILY poses in a V formation on the marble steps of Bunce Hall
From left: Damascus Thomas, Jada Johnson, Brandon Sagbo, Kabirah Yanai, Diana Schreidl, Samuel Poku, Tara Long, Jada Jenkins, Arron Brown, Jayshalie Jennings, Shaleeyah Jeter.

Creator and visionary, freshman Samuel Poku (who prefers being called Poku) a Music Industry major from Old Bridge, NJ (Middlesex County) has big dreams and plans for his time at Rowan University. PROFFAMILY is just the beginning. It was started in June 2020.

Headshot of Poku.
Poku

He tells us, “PROFFAMILY started as just a YouTube channel. A group of diverse kids that just want to have fun at Rowan. It was all freshman. The idea started to develop more thinking about how we can turn it into a movement about equality. Making sure that everybody are aware of and have the same opportunities.”

Photo of Shaleeyah with fall foliage behind.
Shaleeyah

Member and first-generation college student Shaleeyah Jeter is a freshman Education major from Orange, NJ (Essex County) and lives in Chestnut Hall. She became involved with PROFFAMILY when, “I got a direct message on Instagram and they asked if I wanted to join a group chat to get to know some people before I get on campus.”

Dianna and friends standing outside in front of steam
From left: Jayshalie, Jada, Dianna

Dianna Schreidl is a freshman commuter from Deptford, NJ (Gloucester County) and majors in Law & Justice. Dianna became involved when, “I was in a class with JJ and Poku. I got a Zoom message from Poku telling me that JJ thought I was cool and had a good vibe. Then I got a direct message later asking if I wanted to join PROFFAMILY.”

Jada standing outside with fall foliage behind.
Jada

Jada Jenkins is a Psychology major from Blackwood, NJ (Camden County). She says, “I like PROFFAMILY because I was a part of it in the very beginning. We kind of started a friendship with everybody in there and I really like the vibe everybody has and we all get along really well. Everyone is nice, funny and we all get along.”

Poku and Tara standing on the sides of a tree.
From left: Poku and Tara

As a group they were asked why they all did not take a gap year considering the limitations with COVID. They all agreed that since they are all freshman it was not very different for them as it would be for someone who is a sophomore. The way college is now is all they know. Tara Long a first-generation college student from Mount Laurel, NJ (Burlington County) majors in Human Services and lives in Chestnut Hall. She adds that, “I feel like the way senior year ended we lost motivation so I guess it just gave me more of a goal to look forward to, to complete a college year. “

Group members of PROFfamily in front of Bunce Hall.

The goal of PROFFAMILY is unity. Poku adds, “I wanted the goal of PROFFAMILY to be diversity and equality. Instead of making it all about inclusion with the black community I wanted it to be for everyone. I just really want everyone in PROFFAMILY to be a family.”

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Story and photography by: Stephanie Batista, sophomore Music Industry major

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