Black Student Union: celebrating history and culture

By Nick Pitts
February 21, 2008

Megan Pellegrino

Cajun and Creole, Caribbean and still to come, African and Southern Soul. What do they all have in common?

They are all different types of dishes being served for lunch Wednesdays in the cafeteria in honor of Black History Month. But if the entrées presented in the cafeteria aren’t appealing to you, the Black Student Union offers alternative ways to enjoy African-American culture.

The activities include cinema night, a trivia contest with a $50 gift certificate to Best Buy as a prize and possible trip to an African art museum. The union hopes to end the month with a talent show that is still in the works. But what is the Black Student Union and how long have they been present on campus?

The BSU was established as a student organization within the first week of the fall 2007 semester by junior biology technology major Lisa Mills. Its purpose is to support African – American students on campus.

“We’re here to represent black students with a real club,” Mills said. “But we will take members regardless of race, gender or beliefs. We aren’t just in existence to hold parties.”

Thus far into Black History Month, the union has already shown movies such as “Pride” and “Harlem Nights” as part of their Friday cinema night series. Both were written, directed and starred in by African-Americans.

They also plan to show “Love and Basketball” on Feb. 22 as well as “Stomp the Yard” on Feb. 29. The movies start at 8 p.m. and will be shown in the Widener Lecture hall.

The biggest event of the month scheduled by BSU is the trivia contest being held in Founder’s Hall. There you can find on a poster featuring a question regarding African-American achievements, changed each day until the month of February expires. The person who answers the most questions, via email to Mills, receives a gift certificate for $50 to Best Buy.

“The contest is a fun way to educate people about Black History Month,” Mills said. “As long as people are reading and learning, that’s our main goal.”

Freshman political science major Tara Partin is more than happy to be a part of BSU. Other than the efforts by the club, Partin said she “doesn’t really see an aggressive attitude towards black history month activities.”

“As a union, I think we are really getting things done now,” Partin said.

Mills gives other student-run organizations credit for working so hard to get activities for the students on campus, but understands why there are not many involving black history month.

“CAP board really tries to get things out there, but if you don’t demand it, things just won’t happen,” Mills said.

Although a big stepping stone, Mills admits this is merely a learning experience for the club.

“We are learning as we go along,” Mills said. “We will definitely make changes for next year.”

As a junior, Mills feels the pressure to deliver a great experience for the older club members.

“There are more things that I’d like to see, and hopefully will see before I graduate.”

Nick Pitts

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