BSU celebrates 50 years at Loyola

Executive+members+of+Black+Student+Union+join+together+in+front+of+Loyola+to+celebrate+the+organization%27s+50th+anniversary.+Black+Student+Union+Executive+Board%3A+%28left+to+right%29+Brealauna+Leassear%2C+Logan+Jackson%2C+Roshae+Gibson%2C+David+Collins%2C+Miles+Clark%2C+Brionna+Adams%2C+Jenkins+Brady%2C+and+Sterling+Holmes.+Photo+credit%3A+Erin+Haynes
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BSU celebrates 50 years at Loyola

Executive members of Black Student Union join together in front of Loyola to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. Black Student Union Executive Board: (left to right) Brealauna Leassear, Logan Jackson, Roshae Gibson, David Collins, Miles Clark, Brionna Adams, Jenkins Brady, and Sterling Holmes. Photo credit: Erin Haynes

Executive members of Black Student Union join together in front of Loyola to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. Black Student Union Executive Board: (left to right) Brealauna Leassear, Logan Jackson, Roshae Gibson, David Collins, Miles Clark, Brionna Adams, Jenkins Brady, and Sterling Holmes. Photo credit: Erin Haynes

Erin Haynes

Executive members of Black Student Union join together in front of Loyola to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. Black Student Union Executive Board: (left to right) Brealauna Leassear, Logan Jackson, Roshae Gibson, David Collins, Miles Clark, Brionna Adams, Jenkins Brady, and Sterling Holmes. Photo credit: Erin Haynes

Erin Haynes

Erin Haynes

Executive members of Black Student Union join together in front of Loyola to celebrate the organization's 50th anniversary. Black Student Union Executive Board: (left to right) Brealauna Leassear, Logan Jackson, Roshae Gibson, David Collins, Miles Clark, Brionna Adams, Jenkins Brady, and Sterling Holmes. Photo credit: Erin Haynes

Maia Moses

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Not everyone is excited to celebrate being half a century old, but Loyola’s Black Student Union is ringing in its 50th birthday with pride.

Over the past few decades, BSU has aimed to “assess and meet the needs of Loyola’s African American population” by providing “social, cultural, educational and community service opportunities related to African American culture and its significant contributions to society and history,” according to BSU’s website.

Logan Jackson, sociology junior and president of BSU, called the organization “a safe space for the black population and other minority students to excel, unite and experience fellowship with one another.”

Jackson also said the organization’s focus on inclusive diversity expands beyond Loyola’s black student population.

“BSU is inclusive, so (we) are open to all students,” Jackson said.

BSU’s theme for its anniversary is “Golden Times,” and the organization plans to host a number of events that not only correlate with the theme, but also highlight black excellence, according to Sterling Holmes, mass communication senior and vice president of BSU.This includes the creation of new ideas, such as a black student study abroad panel and continuing older BSU traditions, such as the BSU Scholarship Fund and the Mr. and Ms. BSU pageant.

Jackson said she is also, “interested in contacting past Loyola Black Student Union members to have a panel discussion on life after college and how life as a minority on campus has changed over the years” in addition to starting a BSU social media campaign.

Holmes said that BSU is critical to making students of all backgrounds feel heard and supported.

“Having a BSU is important because we go to a PWI (Predominantly White Institution) and there should be a place that (we) can go to in which we feel both comfortable and safe,” Holmes said.

Jackson emphasized how difficult the high school to college transition can be, especially for students from predominantly black institutions.

“This is their first time being in a non-black space, and that can be difficult,” Jackson said.

However, as leaders of the organization, both Jackson and Holmes want to not only “help other students in their transition into college life” but also, for new students to “experience the Black Student Union in a welcoming and warming way.”

Rhojohnae August, mass communication junior, said the organization has been critically important to her college experience.

“As black people, we are the minority and are constantly reminded of this fact within every system, space and organization throughout society,” August said. “Having something tangible that allows us to encourage, educate and uplift people beyond the threshold that society has provided for us is something that we need in this community, because if (we) do not do it, who else will?”

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