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BSU provides events for Black History Month

February 15, 2007

The Black Student Union (BSU), formerly known as the African American Alliance, is putting on events for Black History Month to educate students about African culture.  BSU is a collective group of students who have put their time into helping others understand a little more about African history and culture.

“It’s to bring black students together and educate others on campus and in the community,” BSU President Tony Anderson said.

On Feb. 5 BSU held a panel discussion on racism.

“The turnout was really good,” Anderson said. “I was actually surprised by how many students came.”

Anyone was welcome to attend the panel discussion. The topic of the discussion focused on whether or not people believed there was racism involved on campus and in their daily lives.

“Racism does exist here and everyone has their own perspective of what racism is,” Anderson said.

Last year BSU held four events during the month of February; this year, however, because of lack of funding, the organization will only be hosting three events.

BSU was allotted approximately $2000 last year. This year they are only receiving $1500, which is why African Night will be cut out of the events this month.

UWRF is a campus that is not entirely racially diverse.

According to the Department of Institutional Research, only 1.3 percent of students are black compared to the 91.43 percent of students who are Caucasian. The rest are of a minority or did not fill it out on their applications when they applied to UW-River Falls.

The Department of Institutional Research documents every person’s race according to what they fill out on their application.

“We are a very Caucasian-based campus,” Debra Baker of the Department of Institutional Research said.

Although the campus majority is Caucasian, there is still room for people of every race and ethnicity to join.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” Anderson said.

With more students of racial diversity, it would become an easier setting for some. It would make going to school a little easier and things wouldn’t be so awkward for students who are not of the majority.

With the majority of students being Caucasian, it makes sense for our campus to be involved in things such as BSU and Black History Month.

Junior Karwee Marshall is a member of BSU and is the public relations person for the group. Marshall is involved in getting the BSU name out to people on campus via television and radio. He is also involved in making sure that the events BSU holds are well advertised.

“I support BSU in helping them move to the next level with things,” Marshall said.

BSU wants everyone to understand the reasons people act the way they do and the reasons why some people react the way they do to certain things.

“We are working on educating people,” Anderson said.

BSU meets every Monday at 4:30 p.m. and anyone is welcome to attend.

“You don’t have to be black to be involved,” Anderson said. “We encourage everyone to come.”

BSU is trying something new this year by reaching out to Meyer Middle School in River Falls. BSU will be sending students from the University to the middle school to teach them about black culture. They will be taught through poetry and through the history of the culture.

BSU is interested in reaching out to the community and educating the people.

“It will be a good way for us to get through to the children, and I think it is the best way by actually talking to them,” Anderson said.

A Soul food dinner will be held at the Journey House Mission House on Cascade Avenue on Feb. 23. On Feb. 28, there will be a Freedom of Expression event held in the entertainment complex of the University Center.

“The things we are doing are good, and I am really excited to be a part of it,” Anderson said.

BSU is hosting these events in hopes of raising the knowledge of people at the University and in the community to understand black heritage and the origin of the culture.

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