By Christina Pelletier
If you walk past the Student Diversity Center Thursday nights, chances are you’ll hear the roars of laughter coming from the Black Student Union (BSU) meeting. The group meets every Thursday at 8 pm where they have the chance to get together and celebrate black culture.
Treasurer and Social Media Representative of the BSU, Blake Bouligny, a Puget Sound sophomore, describes the atmosphere of the club as a “family,” and though they’ve only been meeting for a month, they’ve become a close knit group and all feel comfortable with each other. Bouligny believes it’s important to have a place where you can be surrounded by “people that look like you and can relate to me and I can relate to them.”
First-year Isaac Sims-Foster calls BSU a safe and fun space to “embrace Black culture.” Julian Cuyjet, another first-year, reflects how it can be “overwhelming in class and don’t see any black people.” Erica Greening, sophomore, noticed the same thing with a campus that doesn’t have a large population of black students on campus, saying “it’s hard to be a person of color when there isn’t a lot of people like you in your classes and your residence hall.”
First-year Alex Croutteau joined the club this year when his roommate, Deandre Smith asked him if he wanted to come. As the only white-identifying student in the group, Alex appreciates how welcoming the club is to his presence and states they already “feel like family” to him. He finds the meetings to be a “stress-reliever” where he can kick back with his friends and learn more about their culture. He believes it’s “important that people of color have a space where they can make friends and know they’ll get along with everyone.”
During last Thursday’s meeting, the members were split into groups where they had to write a rap with one rule: “be creative” with Bouligny and President Nia Henderson, a sophomore judging. The raps were about anything from “roasting” members of the group to the struggles of being black in today’s world.
The love and camaraderie this group has for each other is evident the second one steps through the doors of the SDC Thursday nights. Bouligny emphasizes that the “doors of SDC are always open to everybody.”
The BSU has a lot in store for the school year. From themed parties, to philanthropy and study sessions, the BSU has something for everyone. Later this semester members of the BSU will be attending the student-led, student-attended Students of Color Conference on October 28. The conference, which will be held at Whitman, is open to the entire campus for anyone who wants to go. If you are interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org by October 1.
For more information about the Black Student Union check out their Instagram: @ups.bsu.