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Black Student Union welcomes all

Jamilah+Kangudja%2C+exercise+physiology+and+BSU+member%2C+participates+in+a+trash+pick+up+Oct.+5+in+Legacy.
Jamilah Kangudja, exercise physiology and BSU member, participates in a trash pick up Oct. 5 in Legacy.

Jamilah Kangudja, exercise physiology and BSU member, participates in a trash pick up Oct. 5 in Legacy.

Jeri Moore

Jeri Moore

Jamilah Kangudja, exercise physiology and BSU member, participates in a trash pick up Oct. 5 in Legacy.

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The Black Student Union, an organization that has been on campus since Oct. 3 1989, prides itself on its inclusion of all people and is an umbrella organization to other African-American culture-based organizations on campus.

“We’re just an organization that wants to unify all of the African-American students on campus,” Treston Lacy, mass communication senior and BSU member, said. “But you don’t have to be black to be a part of the organization.”

Lacy explained that the question he gets the most is whether or not students have to be black to join. One of the main ideas behind BSU, is the purpose of informing the public of the experiences and issues of African-Americans.

“We’re hoping to advocate or inform people and also to bring people together in the minority community,” Trevonne Bradford, psychology senior and BSU president, said. “Just to talk about what’s going on, different racial tensions, experiences and what we want to do is help advocate for certain social movements. Just to let people be aware (of what is going on).”

Future events include the music and art festival and making plans for the Mr. and Mrs. Black Excellence Pageant in the spring. Event planning has been a struggle as BSU doesn’t have an event calendar.

“This year we’re thinking about teaming up with PRIDE,” Bradford said. “They have their annual drag show. We’re thinking of teaming up with them to put the two together so we can include everyone.”

The BSU also assisted with getting the word out about NAACP’s Constitution Day and voter registration event. Bradford explained that BSU is more social and the NAACP is more political, informative and nationally registered. Outside of voter registration, BSU isn’t politically active.

“We mostly just push the envelope as far as getting registered to vote,” Lacy said.

The members of BSU routinely assist other minority organizations and even cover who will attend and represent the organization in their bi-monthly meeting. Volunteers then attend each event.

“One of our goals is to bridge the gaps between BSU, the Caribbean Student Organization and the African Student Organization,” Bradford said. “[We want] to bring everyone together and just have a good time. If anything else we want to inform people and have a good time.”

Members of the BSU are also members of the various other minority organizations, balancing work, athletics, other clubs and their BSU involvement. A couple of values that the BSU hopes to promote within its organization are to build up the community and build leadership skills.

“I feel like MSU breeds leaders all over,” Bradford said. “That’s what I want to continue is to breed leaders and to represent our community in a positive way.”

Various events with African-American themes are run by the BSU including parties, movie events and volunteer opportunities around campus.  One of which, recruited Lacy his freshman year.

“The overall idea for the events for BSU were basically ways for everyone to come together with the idea of pushing (showcasing) African-American cultures,” Lacy, said.

BSU uses social media to keep members up to date through the GroupMe and Twitter apps. The BSU officers are available to help students stay informed as well. The only requirement is that members, over 282, be in good academic standing.

“We’re growing,” Bradford said. “It’s a lot bigger than when I first started and I like that.”

BSU is one of those organizations that has been active and involved on campus during the past 10 years that Mario Ramirez, interim director of Student Involvement, has worked at MSU. At one point, the leaders of the organization tried to motivate its members to attend the Black Student Leadership summit hosted by the A&M.

“They’re working to provide more opportunities for leadership in the community and specifically for our African-American students,” Mario Ramirez said.

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Black Student Union welcomes all