By Molly Burke
The Black Student Union was founded in 2013 with the mission to help, develop and guide Black and African students, all while providing a sense of community on campus.
Brittany Bailey, a junior general studies and business major, is on the elective board of the BSU. She said the BSU is a place where Black students can initiate conversations about what needs to be done for Black students at Youngstown State University.
“It’s there as a place where Black students can come together and see what we can do to help each other and thrive at YSU,” Bailey said.
Social work graduate student Donquail Mims is the liaison and chair for the BSU. Mims said everyone is welcome to join the BSU, but it ultimately is a space for Black voices.
“It’s good to be around those students of color and understand where they’re coming from. Just being around the atmosphere, learning the history and just being culturally competent is a good reason to join the Black Student Union,” Mims said.
Business administration major and BSU Secretary, Samantha Dodson, said she joined the organization because she wanted to find a place to connect with others.
“Back when I was a freshman, I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere because I am a first-generation college student in my family. So, I wanted to make sure I joined somewhere and paid attention to my academics as well,” Dodson said. “Out of everything that I got involved with, this is the one thing I stuck to because it made me feel welcome. My ideas were shared and they were pulled through. I felt like I was heard.”
David Hughley III, a senior accounting major, is the acting president for the BSU and said the organization has grown since he joined his freshman year, with it now having over a dozen members.
“I’ve watched the organization evolve. There’s definitely been substantial growth from the time I was here as a first year and now as a graduating senior,” Hughley said.
Hughley said the BSU often collaborates with other organizations on campus such as the African Student Union, Caribbean Student Union and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
“We definitely reach out to other organizations. We want to work with everyone to make sure we have a presence on campus and that we make the campus a better overall university community,” Hughley said.
Rose Williams, a senior graphic design major and BSU historian, said the organization holds many events to engage with students.
“We just had a paint and snack recently. There was also a nonviolence parade that we participated in. I wasn’t there unfortunately, but I heard it went very well,” Williams said. “There is always a formal, which will be coming up next semester. A lot of people go out for that. Especially if you like to dress up, it’s definitely an event to go to.”
For those interested, the Black Student Union holds its meetings every other Wednesday at 5 p.m. in the Pollock room of Kilcawley Center. More information can be found on the Black Student Union website.