Archive for Sunday, November 26, 2006

Black Student Union leaders try to strengthen school’s unity

November 26, 2006


Kansas University junior Christopher Reine has had fun during his first few months as president of the Black Student Union on campus.

Being good friends with members of BSU's executive board, including senior Cherie Moose and freshman Jordan Brown, has made things easier, Reine said.

"This year I've tried to do something different. The only way it's going to work is if we are going to be as cohesive and really respect each other," said Reine, who came to KU from Kansas City, Mo., to study psychology.

The organization provides activities and a social outlet for its members, mostly black students, but it is open to all KU students.

Members of BSU's executive board also participate in an annual conference with representatives from other Big 12 schools to discuss issues.

At KU, the BSU's members - about 75 on campus - and adviser Pamela Scott are instrumental in organizing events during Black History Month every February.

What is the Black Student Union's basic mission?

Christopher Reine: It's an organization for anybody. It's open to anybody to join, and our goal is to show the positives of African Americans through several forums that we have, whether it's social, political or educational. In each meeting, we bring in an outside source or someone from KU to talk about different services that the students can utilize.

Christopher Reine, left, president of KANSAS UNIVERSITY'S Black Student Union, and Cherie Moose, co-programs chairwoman, meet weekly with other board members to decide and vote on events held throughout the year.

Christopher Reine, left, president of KANSAS UNIVERSITY'S Black Student Union, and Cherie Moose, co-programs chairwoman, meet weekly with other board members to decide and vote on events held throughout the year.

What are some newer things BSU is doing this year?

Cherie Moose: We had a Black Student Union Week the first week of school. We had a back-to-school week where we did community services projects and had a barbecue.

An annual event that we do is the Black Leadership Symposium. We also have a monthly community service project. We have done a "Sing and Serve" at the Lawrence Drop-in Center. We sing for people that stay overnight. That's been pretty rewarding for us. We enjoy it, and they enjoy us coming in and talking to them and getting some nice home-cooked meals.

What is the BSU's Freshman Action Team?

Jordan Brown: Our goal is to improve freshman retention rates, and what we've been trying to do is encourage improvement of study habits. We have had study hours where we dedicate time to just helping each other in our academics, as well as handing out pamphlets across the campus that show people the correct way to study.

Also, we have had social events in an effort to try to strengthen the freshman class, kind of like we have a family - a support system away from home.

Why have you all enjoyed participating in the BSU?

Christopher Reine: For me it's networking. There are so many people involved and so many people helping with it. I can get a lot of my resources just from that. Also just helping me as an individual grow as a person. It's helped me become more outgoing.

Jordan Brown, BSU member.

Jordan Brown, BSU member.

Jordan Brown: It's a comfortable environment. For me, it's just a breath of fresh air when I get to be around other positive individuals who I can relate to.

Cherie Moose: For me, it's also leadership skills. That is something that you really can't learn in the classroom. I think that will help us all later in life.

What do you consider to be the most important issues facing the BSU now?

Christopher Reine: I'd say one thing is the BSU's annual homecoming king and queen and recognizing them as part of the university.

Cherie Moose: I would like to see more athletes involved (in BSU meetings) because athletics can only take you so far. You need to have other things to fall back on.


yellowrose 11 years, 4 months ago

Get a grip and get real, people. Whether you choose to accept it or not, the fact is that there are cultural differences between the races that will always exist. BSU or JSU, (Japanese Student Union,) if there is one, or any other racial group who share the same customs have the right to keep their culture alive and have a sense of community in which they can freely support each other and express themselves. There are things that people of color can't share with people who are of different hues than they are. A black female will tell another black female things that she would never share with a white one. Why is that? Because, the black female will have had a similar experience or at least will be able to understand on an emotional level, what is being experienced by her black sister. Yes, I said "sister," and I meant "sister." When anyone is miles away from familiar surroundings and the family and friends who have been the source of support, the most natural thing to do is seek out those with like experiences who are in one's new surroundings. Black students joining together in a spirit of unity and bringing education about their history and culture to the forefront, should only bring acceptance and understanding as the result unless there are more small minded Marions out there than I think. Marion, wear a blindfold for a day and see how color conscious you can be after 24 hours under it. Isn't bigotry politically incorrect in any form?

Linda Endicott 11 years, 4 months ago

But exactly how do you strengthen a school's unity by having a group that excludes anyone?

booger 9 years, 10 months ago

Hi, I'm white. My parents are white. My cousins are white. My grandparents are white. My brothers and sisters are white. Am I allowed to join your black student union? I cannot help it that I was born into such oppression and into a racist race called the white race. I am being excluded not based on the content of my character, but on the color of my skin. This is racism pure and simple. The left wing schools that allow this to happen are doing a disservice to the legacy that Martin Luther King, Jr fought for and died for. I think if MLK,Jr were alive today he would be against a "black student union". As others have stated, if someone wants to open a "white student union" they would be labeled a "RACIST". Are white people the racists here?? 25% of white people voted in the election for Hillary Clinton because of the color of her skin, but 90% of blacks voted for Barack Obama!! Who are the real racists here??

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