Black Student Union Returns to YSU

By Jennifer Rodriguez

The Black Student Union is a Youngstown State University organization dedicated to the recognition and the involvement of African American students. For the past few years, BSU has been inactive, but that changed this semester.

Jaylin Archie, a freshman at YSU studying human resources, took on the role of vice president of BSU and says there are many things to come.

“We try to encourage people to stay a part of the YSU community, because we make up less than 20 percent of the population on campus,” said Archie. “Black Student Union is so important to me, because I am able to help coach other blacks through the things we all face.”

Currently there are 31 members of BSU, but anyone is welcome to join.

“We are definitely looking for new members who are committed to being a part of BSU. It’s for anyone, of any race,” Archie said. “They just have to be about the things we want to address here on campus, but it is for everyone.”

Currently BSU has several events planned including an open mic night, which will take place on Oct. 20 from 7-10 p.m. in the hub. There is also a Veterans Day breakfast in the works, which will be a morning of honoring all veterans.

BSU is dedicated to the advancement of African American students, which is why they hold a study table every Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. in Maag Library. Students can come and receive tutoring with any subject they may need help in.

“What we’re trying to do is have a scholarship night once a month,” Archie said. “Getting minority students to come out to the Maag Library, where we can navigate them to the YSU website, show them where the scholarships are and how to apply and submit them.”

The students involved in BSU say they have had good experiences since the restart of the organization. Lakesha Smith, who is the secretary of BSU, said “For the first time I’ve felt comfortable to be myself.”

Smith is from Chicago but has attended YSU since 2012. She is majoring in social work with a minor in Africana studies. Smith hopes to accomplish several things through BSU.

“We want to bring unity to the students of color as one on YSU’s campus, build a network of students that will uplift one another without judgmental backlash,” Smith said.

Khadijah Ndoye, another member of BSU, transferred to YSU from Ohio State University. Ndoye says being a part of BSU has been a learning experience. She also is hopeful for great things to come through the organization.

“I would like to establish a community and network specifically for minority students that students can use to share their common experiences to help with retention, matriculation and academic achievement,” Ndoye said.

Archie says one of the main purposes of the BSU is to build a community.

“We are trying to get ourselves back on track, but also include all minorities because we do understand that we aren’t the only people that are left out,” Archie said.