“Chilling” with the Black Student Union

By Brooke DellaRocco, Staff Writer

Jenga, s’mores, pizza, cotton candy and a campfire — what more could you ask for? This past Friday, the Black Student Union had its first event of the year: a “Chill Out,” which invited students of all races and ethnicities to release a little of the pent-up stress that builds up during midterms.

Founded in 2017 and officially paired with Student Engagement in 2020, the BSU has impacted campus by representing the community of people of color and other minorities..

“Our mission is just to enhance change, promote different types of goals, and community within Manhattan, both on and off campus,” co-president Laurah Perrin said. 

This year BSU has no current members from previous years, which makes it extremely difficult to determine what their agenda for the year will entail. But active co-presidents Laurah Perrin and Quemarii Williams hope to engage with the community in order to hear the student’s ideas about possible initiatives. 

The importance of having a group of people to stand with and relate to is like no other and spoken upon by Natalie Schmidt, a sophomore and attendee of the “Chill Out.”

“Communities are always important no matter what,” Schmidt said. “Whether it be Black, Latino, Asian culture, or even LGBTQ, it’s nice to have a community of people that you can relate to. You know, you guys can work on things together, help support activist programs, further equality, because it’s really important to know that you’re not alone.” 

For Perrin, BSU is a place where they can find themselves and pursue causes that are important to them. 

“Most of my life, I’ve just identified myself with the hybrid identity of a student-athlete and nothing else,” Perrin said. “And I feel like BSU has really helped me become in tune with myself as a black female, and with other black students, especially in a school like Manhattan that’s predominantly white.”

Just by walking into the McNeil Courtyard — also known as the mini quad — it was easy to notice how much BSU cares about the students and faculty here on campus. Games, food and music could be heard from a distance. 

One student, Ester Davis, talked about how beneficial this event was.

“We’ve been waiting for a while, but everyone’s happy right now and having some fun, so it brings the happiness out of the season,” Davis said.

The BSU encourages many people to come participate and join in on the activities and see some new faces. Rebecca Wilson, senior and secretary of the BSU, specifically mentioned how inclusive they are. 

“We want people to come out, celebrate. If you’re not Black, come out and celebrate. We want you to come and show love, show support,” Wilson said.