As Black History Month wrapped up last month, Rollins’ Black Student Union (BSU) reflected on its recent events while looking toward the future.
BSU hosted multiple events on campus for Black History Month, including Soul Food Sunday, a Black Panther screening, and a BSU Career Studio Takeover, done in partnership with the Photography Club, to provide student headshots.
“I really appreciate the opportunity to have two organizations that I am a part of collaborating in such an effort for inspiring and helping us in our career goals,” said Fatima Sani (‘24), a member of both BSU and the Photography Club.
BSU President Carley Matthews (‘22) said that one of BSU’s goals is to give black-identifying students a place where they feel comfortable.
“At all of our events, there have been students that are not necessarily members of BSU but that are definitely welcomed and invited to all of our programming,” said Matthews.
Matthews said there is an open invitation for underclassmen to join BSU.
“We are trying to be intentional in making sure that we are nurturing and fostering relationships with underclassmen to let them know that we are a support network for them,” Matthews said.
During events, BSU partners with several student organizations.
“We are working with Spectrum on the Glitter Ball coming up, as well as other organizations for a field day. That will be five different student organizations partnering together: Rotaract Club, Rollins Amnesty, LASA, Spectrum, and BSU,” said Matthews.
BSU has active connections beyond the campus’ limits, but because of COVID-19, Matthews said, “doing service or partnering with community partners has looked different this year. We are currently trying to work with Upward Bound, which is a pre-collegiate program for high school students.”
Reflecting on the campus’ celebration of Black History Month, Matthews said, “I think that the Center for Inclusion and Campus Involvement (CICI) always does an amazing job with working with students and working with student organizations to make sure that we feel seen on campus, as well as all of our Student Affairs faculty and staff.” However, she added that while there are advantages to the student-led culture of Rollins, she would like to see a more concerted effort to uplift black students and other minority students during their heritage month.
“There are definitely people on campus that truly champion BSU, and that champion minority students. We deeply appreciate them,” MAtthews said.
When asked about BSU’s future, Matthews said she hopes the organization thrives and becomes an even closer community.
“We can always do better, we can always do more,” Matthews said. “Our experiences are always changing, and our vision for BSU should be ever-changing as well.”