By Michevi Dufflart, Staff Writer
New semesters bring with them new faces, and now a new club. The club that has recently been brought to fruition is the Black Student Union, more commonly known around campus as “BSU.”
The BSU, which is open to all students on campus, has been a work in progress since last semester. The two juniors who spearheaded the efforts to create the club, Niarie Grant and Parys Wyatt, now president and vice president of the group, held an interest meeting early last spring to explore turnout for this current year.
When asked what caused the two leaders to think about creating the club, they both responded that their inspiration drew from a flyer posted on campus for the South Asian Student Association. Immediately they knew they wanted to establish a space for the African American community at the college.
In addition to this, Grant mentioned that during the activities fair last year she noticed no clubs that catered to the black community. Similarly, Wyatt said that while the Multicultural Center was a great place, she felt a need for more.
Once they gained some support for the club’s possible creation, Grant brought up the idea to the Director of the Multicultural Center, Hayden Greene – who not only expressed his approval but also offered to become the club’s advisor. While the club is still working to gain recognition from the office of student engagement, they are officially recognized as a club by the Multicultural Center.
BSU club member Kimberly Hall, a sophomore at MC, expressed her excitement for this new club.
“I’m proud to call myself a member of a club that is shining a light on diversity in our MC community because it feels good to finally have something on campus that represents me,” she said.
The BSU meets every Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Multicultural Center and this semester the club has already had two meetings, both of which had successful turnouts. The first meeting drew a crowd of about 40 students, and was described by Grant and Wyatt as a brainstorming session that produced ideas for activities in the following year and discussions to be had.
Some ideas the group came up with included a field trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, readings on the Quadrangle, food from specific black cultures, and black cinema week. These ideas are based mainly off of what students suggested and they hope to work from that list throughout the year.
The BSU has two sophomores, Kaylyn Atkins and Cedric St. Louis, as their social media/advertising leadership team. The two work together to manage the BSU Instagram account, bsumc_, and research topics for discussion during some of the meetings. The discussions typically involve how the events in the world affect people personally and the community.
Grant also mentioned that something she would like to do at the start of each meeting is ask everyone the question, “What are you celebrating today?” – something that was inspired by the beginning of the late Brother Ray’s education class. She said that it could be something as simple as being alive, receiving a good grade, or talking to someone. Grant noted the importance of this as well saying that the BSU is a family, and that they’re happy for everyone.
Grant, Wyatt, Atkins and St. Louis all expressed their excitement for the year ahead. Grant noted that it will not be easy running a club, but she knows the BSU is a great asset to Manhattan College. Additionally, Wyatt looks forward to building a community within a community and hopes students help the club grow.
Both leaders also hope students leave each meeting with someone they didn’t know before or something that stood out to them. And as St. Louis expressed, he hopes people will feel comfortable, represented, and keep coming back to the BSU.
While the BSU is a club geared toward the black community, both Grant and Wyatt stress that it is not just a club for one race. In similar ways they describe the club as a place to address issues about the black community, get rid of stereotypes, empower one another and spread awareness.
“You don’t have to be black to want to be aware and represent Black people on campus; this is open-mindedness,” Hall said.