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UWRF Black Student Union invites all

February 18, 2015

With the racially-charged atmosphere in the U.S. lately, the timing is right to bring everyone together to celebrate black history and diversity.

The UW-River Falls Black Student Union (BSU) always has something going on. Its meetings are lively and strive to strike a balance between serious issues, which pertain to their mission, and fun as a student organization.

BSUs have been around on college campuses since the spring of 1966 at San Francisco State College. During the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, these organizations sprung up all over the country. There is a national organization to support and guide BSUs in the U.S.

In their mission statement, online, the National BSU says: “NBSU is organized exclusively for the purpose of working with Black Student Unions and to enhance the quality of life for undergraduate college students.”

UWRF’s BSU embraces that mission with a slight difference. All students of any race or minority are welcome to join the student organization. The idea of caring about fellow students, their post-secondary education, their problems, and making it through college together with mutual cooperation is an important part of UWRF’s BSU focus according to Vice President Ashley-Beth Rosana.

“A lot of people think ‘oh, it’s Black Student Union, we probably can’t go to their events, and go to their meetings,’ but we are really open,” Rosana said. “We talk about issues that pertain to the black community in the U.S., even maybe challenges that we face as minority students. We really want them to feel like we’re there for them in all types of situations, if it’s socially, being friends and going out and doing things, or if they’re having trouble with homework or school is just stressing them out, we want them to come to us.”

Thinking about its mission, Rosana said, “I think people have culture-shock maybe from more diverse high schools and communities back home. They come to River Falls and feel kind of outcast or different.”

All are welcome to join BSU. Rosana said its meeting format may be different each time because they might have a member with an urgent issue, needing some immediate support or a current event which needs to be addressed. Rosana said BSU tries to be sensitive to what members need. She said BSU is often a fun meeting. Many meetings are full of food, laughter and team games like “Jeopardy.”

The BSU will be winding up Black History Month on Feb. 27. A full evening of cultural performances and authentic African food in the Kleinpell Fine Arts building is planned. “African Night” is free and everyone is invited to come help celebrate. There will be cultural performances from 6-8 p.m. and authentic African cuisine from 8-9 p.m. For more information contact Oboi Jones at oboi.jones@my.uwrf.edu.

“Giving other students and people just a chance to see there is something to celebrate, it doesn’t always have to be these sort of serious, heavy discussions, which need to be had, but also this more celebratory, kind of, come eat with us,” said sociology Professor Paige Miller, BSU’s advisor.

If interested in attending a BSU meeting contact Jones. Meetings are every other Monday at 5 p.m. in the Wind River Room in the University Center.