At the beginning of the 2016 fall semester, Concordia University announced the addition of its newest student organization: the Black Student Union (BSU). The driving force behind its addition is to help raise awareness.
Despite what the name may imply, the BSU is a place for individuals from every race, gender, and ethnicity. It mission is to act as a “safety net” for students, providing them with a culturally responsive atmosphere in which students can thrive.
“The entire purpose of the club is to make people of all backgrounds feel welcome, as well as educate people on many different types of cultures,” member William Turner said. “Many clubs have a small mission, project, or event that is centered on making students feel welcome, but the entire core of the BSU is centered on making students here at Concordia as well as community members feel welcomed into our community.”
A key point in BSU’s purpose is its emphasis on community involvement. This focus is evident through BSU’s recent campaign: “Project CHANGE”.
According to BSU member Kristina Aguilera, Project CHANGE was established to give words of encouragement to K-8 and high school students, discuss college readiness, and share the benefits of Concordia University.
“It’s a collaborative project between the Athletic Department, School of Education, and the BSU in which an athlete, a student from the education program, and a professor will visit and speak to the students about the importance of giving your best effort in everything you do in life,” Aguilera said.
Although raising cultural awareness and ensuring academic success for students and future generations are important to the club, what truly sets it apart is its open door policy.
“Our members come from all different backgrounds and walks of life, but when we’re together, everyone kind of forgets all that, and you’re able to focus more on who that person is,” said Turner. “It’s not important what color your skin is, or what you talk like, or ever where you came from. It’s come as you are. No one is going to try to change you or make you participate in something you feel uncomfortable in. That’s what I think makes the BSU so special. It’s for everyone.”