The Black Student Union, one of the oldest student organizations at the University of Mississippi, is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a series of special promotions and events scheduled through March 2018.
“From its founding, the Black Student Union has remained steadfast in its mission to keep the University of Mississippi moving forward,” said Nekkita Beans, a senior social work major from Philadelphia and BSU president.
“To celebrate its successful perpetuity in its golden year, we, the executive members of the 50th governing board, hope to host events throughout the academic year that aligns with BSU mission and that is celebratory of this momentous occasion. Moreover, it is our desire to celebrate and fellowship with past executive officers and members of the Black Student Union at events hosted throughout the year.”
The year began with Beans’ State of the Black Student Union address to the African-American university community in September. She spoke about the progress that black students have made on campus and facilitated a discussion that explored needs and goals.
“This month, we hosted our third annual IAMBSU Week,” Beans said. “During the month of October, we will be dedicated to giving back to our students and the Lafayette-Oxford-University community.”
Events included a communitywide service project, a “Living the Legacy” social media campaign and a presentation aimed at educating the campus about the history of BSU at the university. The week ended with the BSU hosting a tent in the Grove for Homecoming.
Since February 2014, the annual Black History Month Gala has served to celebrate the progress of the campus community by recognizing African-American achievement on campus. The fifth annual Black History Month Gala is scheduled for Feb. 9, 2018.
“The 2013-14 BSU executive board saw a need to recognize African-Americans who dedicated their time and energy to creating a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere on campus and were going unrecognized,” said Shawnboda Mead, director of the university’s Center for Inclusion and Cross-Cultural Engagement and BSU adviser. “The gala will be open to the campus community, and we also welcome all past executive officers and members of the Black Student Union to attend.”
The golden anniversary celebration ends in March 2018 with the BSU hosting a brunch during Black Alumni weekend. This event will be advertised with the Black Alumni Weekend package. This will be an opportunity for students to make meaningful connections with alumni.
“It is our belief that the Black Student Union is a successful student organization today because of the diligent work of those who came before us,” Beans said. “Without a doubt, it has been the generous support and contributions over the years that has enabled us to accomplish our organizational goals.
“In the upcoming year, our leadership wants to be able to continue building on the legacy of our predecessors. We want to use this year as a time to honor them and to empower our current students through them, to show them that each and every day they are living a legacy and contributing to a greater story much bigger than their own.”
The BSU began March 25, 1969, with a group of students who saw the need to involve black students in campus decisions, request more representation on the faculty and more minority recruitment initiatives. After several protests by black students demanding that they are granted an official registered student organization, the group was officially recognized as a campus organization.
By Edwin B. Smith
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