By Jena Lynde-Smith

Growing up in Nigeria and surrounded by people that looked and talked like him, Patrick Ene didn’t fully understand the reality of being Black. 

After moving to Canada in 2018, Ene quickly became aware of the challenges and the oppression that exist but also the beauty of Black cultures.  

“Moving from Nigeria really expanded my perspective on my life, who I am and where I come from,” Ene says. “I realized there is so much beauty in Black cultures. It’s inspired me to learn more about not just African culture, but others as well.”  

Patrick Ene

Patrick Ene

For Ene, Black History Month is a chance to celebrate and honour these cultures.  

“It’s important to take the time to appreciate the art, the music, the food, the history  everything that makes Black people who we are and to appreciate where those things come from, and what they are now.” 

Ene joined Carleton’s computer science program, with a concentration in computer gaming, in 2019. Longing for his home country and community, Ene became a member of the Nigerian Student Association 

“Wherever they are, Nigerians tend to have a group that supports one another,” Ene says.  

In his second year, Ene came across the Black Student Alliance at Carleton’s Clubs Expo. He quickly got involved and has since become the association’s co-president.  

“I got so much fulfillment and such a sense of community from the club that I thought it was important to volunteer my time to help others feel the same,” says Ene.  

His favourite part of the role is planning and attending events around mental health  a topic about which he is passionate.  

“I have struggled with school stress and being away from home, amidst other things,” Ene says. “It’s very important to me to be able to support other people when I can by advocating for mental health and providing students with mental health resources.”  

Further building on this priority, Ene volunteers with CUSA’s Racialized and International Student Experience (RISE) and Wellness Centre. In all of his involvement, Ene believes the most important thing is to build a sense of community, and that doing that with people of the same race or culture is empowering.  

“As an international student, I know how hard it can be to feel like you belong,” he says. “It’s important to find a group of people you can connect and be yourself with  both on campus and beyond.” 

Aside from his involvement in student associations, Ene works part-time in Carleton’s Housing and Residence Life Services as a client representative and is a member of the worship team at Lighthouse Church. When he graduates, Ene hopes to begin working in the gaming industry and to continue advocating for cultural awareness, community connection and mental health.  

Despite his extremely busy schedule, Ene plans to participate in Black History Month by working with the various clubs he is part of to host events and initiatives that celebrate Black culture in all its forms. 

“Black History Month is a representation of culture, but also of the pain that Black people have gone through. It’s a time to celebrate perseverance  reflecting on both joy and pain.”  

During Black History Month, the Carleton community is mobilizing to promote and highlight Black leadership, achievements and experiences. While Black History Month is an important moment to mark annually, Carleton recognizes that Black inclusion must be an everyday, year-round priority. Visit to learn more. 

Monday, January 30, 2023 in ,
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