By: Briana Greene
What comes to mind when you think of BSU, or Black Student Union? Do you assume only black people can join? Do you think you shouldn’t join for fear of not fitting in? Or do you want to join but feel like it may be awkward for you? However you chose to view it, BSU serves as an organization that’s all about diversity, and you do not need to be a certain skin color to join.
“That’s why I wanted to run for president [of the club] this year. I wanted to make it clear to people there is no rule saying only black people can join this club,” said Shahein Kiaresh, president of BSU. “I’m the president and I’m white.”
The goal that Kiaresh is aiming for is that by the time he graduates, he wants at least one person from every race or ethnicity to join BSU.
“I want it to be like a rainbow of different cultures, races, and ethnicities because I feel that we have to be exposed to a lot of different things, and exposing people to different cultures is always a learning experience,” said Kiaresh. “When people see that BSU’s president is white, then maybe they will start to understand that it doesn’t matter what race you are, we accept anyone who wants to join and will not turn away people.”
So if the club wasn’t created to exclude people, then why is it called Black Student Union and not something a bit more diverse? Well the truth is no one knows.
“I don’t really know where the name came from, or how long the club has been around with FSU, but if I was to guess, I would say that the club got its name so black people could feel empowered, and feel like they had a place where they could fit in,” Kiaresh continued, “Then over the years people of all races started to join to show support, and from then on it’s been celebrating not only African-American culture, but diversity too.”
BSU is all about embracing different cultures, which is why they host events that highlight different ethnicities. One of the more diverse and recent events called “Greek to Me” was held last November. The next events occurring on campus include the African Dinner and the start of the “Condom Jar Guessing Game”, being held on February 4 in the Holmes Dining Hall. The dinner is free, but it will cost one dollar to participate in the jar game for a single guess, and two dollars for three. Students can estimate how many condoms are in the jar, and if correct the winner will receive them all. Another event not far includes a film showing on February 7 in honor of national black HIV/AIDS awareness day. The movie “Life Support” will be played in Ellis White located in the Hammond Building, second floor, at 7 pm.
If you’re interested in attending the events are free, and BSU plans to make people feel welcome and to get the message out that you do not have to be black to be in the club. People of all races and nationalities are allowed to join if they want to.
“It seems like a lot of people do not want to join BSU because they may think, ‘oh my God, I’m not black so I can’t join,’ but that’s not the case; you can be the color purple and we will still accept you,” said Kiaresh.
Now that you have a better understanding of what BSU is really about, you can decide if it is the right club for you. So far BSU has 60 members and is looking to have more, so if this group interests you, please sign up. If you still have questions about the club then they have a Facebook page and can be found on http://www.Fitchburgstateuniversity.com in the “Student Clubs and Organizations” link under the “Get Involved” tab located under “Campus Life”.
All photos by: Nicole Rollo