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Alvernia’s Black Student Union a Home for Diverse Students

by Teresa Marsh, Alvernia University

Dec 02, 2022

Alvernia University’s Black Student Union is a relatively new club that has quickly become a home for diverse students to feel safe and understood. This club allows the students to speak their mind in a room where other students can relate. Unfortunately, prejudice and racism are still prominent today in 2022. The traumatic events such as the death of George Floyd and ongoing police brutality towards individuals of color make it clear that equality for African Americans is still a battle every day. Individuals are still being discriminated against for their skin color. As a society, we first need to recognize and admit that there is a problem. Only after we admit the inequity and injustice against people of color can we start to make changes. The changes will not happen overnight, but they need to start. BSU is the start of that change.

Throwback to September of 2020, student Micah Yarbray had the extraordinary idea to start up her own BSU club at Alvernia. Little did she know that in just the next year, BSU would win Club of the Year and Event of the Year. BSU is a club known across the nation that advocates for equality and is a safe space for primarily African American and Hispanic students. The members of BSU meet every other Thursday in Campus Commons with various discussion topics and activities. The meetings tend to be an outlet for these students where they can get anything off of their chest while having their peers and classmates to support them. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students only make up 36% at Alvernia University. A club like this allows these students to be part of something together and to feel accepted.

Many schools and campuses that offer a BSU club do different activities, yet they all have the same mission and goal. The goal of the organization is to be an advocate for African American, multiracial, and other minority students and to have a comfortable venting place for those individuals at Alvernia University. This club is all about inclusivity and unity. Unity does not mean that these members all look the same. Students from different cultures, backgrounds, and skin colors are welcome to join. BSU just wants its members to be advocates for each other.   As previously mentioned, in 2021, BSU won Event of the Year out of all of Alvernia’s many student clubs. The event that took it home was called “Chalk the Walk.” This was a hands-on event where students could write their favorite inspirational quote by a person of color. Quotes from legends such as Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson and so many more covered the sidewalk in colorful chalk outside the Alvernia Student Center. The goal was for when students take their walk down that busy sidewalk to class, they can start their day feeling motivated. Especially, for our diverse students. The participants ranged from commuters to professors to regular students to coaches. This event would not have been so successful without the student body being so willing to participate.

With the president of BSU, Micah Yarbray, graduating in May we know the club is still going to be in good hands. The future of BSU will continue to grow strong and continue to educate others about what it is like to be a person of color in America. Having a BSU club at Alvernia is extremely vital. “Every club on campus is important, but what one does with their club makes it unique. What makes BSU unique is our purpose. Our primary purpose on paper is to educate and learn about all different cultures and be a club for minority students to feel welcome and understood. However, BSU has gone further than that; we have become a family with all different shades and backgrounds, a safe haven for those who feel lost, and a place of open discussion and open understanding to those who feel like they are not being heard. We are constantly working together to build BSU to be the best club we can be,” BSU Vice President, Jayah Roman said. If interested, students can sign up on PAX to be a member of Alvernia’s BSU.

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