St. John’s Black Student Union is ready to make change on the Queens campus. The student-run group will make their debut at a general body meeting on February 1, the beginning of Black History Month, to share what they hope to accomplish moving forward.
Though they are not yet an official organization with an advisor, the students presented their group on their Instagram page @sj.bsu, on January 10. The first post was an introduction of BSU president, Mercedes Hancock.
In the wake of racial issues taking place outside of the University, the BSU team wants students to know exactly what this organization stands for.
“A Black Student Union is a coalition of students of all backgrounds who want to better themselves and better their community,” Hancock said.
The group will stand alongside well-known cultural organizations like Haraya, the multi-cultural Pan-African Coalition, The Caribbean Students Association and the Latin American Student Organization. The group presented similar goals. like education, faith, unity, impact and justice.
St. John’s student, Jade Syphax, feels like BSU is giving a space for more Black students to express their culture.
“I’m actually really glad we have a Black Student Union on campus,” Syphax said. “It gives a place for other Black students who don’t fit the criteria for Haraya.”
Syphax views Haraya as an African Student Union targeting students that are closer to their African and Caribbean origins.
“It feels really good to have one for Black American students who are very in touch with being Black,” Syphax said. “I think it’s really great to have one on campus…I really don’t see why there should be a controversy around it.”
Reza Moreno, former Present of Habitat of Humanity, expressed many new organizations like BSU may struggle building up a large community at first, but they are a necessary group on campus.
“I think any new org will find trouble gaining a reputation,” Moreno said. “Their presence is huge on campus…it’s all about finding the right orgs to partner and market with.”
“I think it’s wonderful that SJU is gaining a BSU…it’s great to have many orgs open to communities especially the Black community where I feel needs it more in today’s societies,” Moreno said.
In addition to Syphax, Moreno is also looking forward to seeing BSU collaborate with other organizations. Syphax mentioned the BSU should host things that conduct conversations about Black culture.
“They should host things like talking about breaking down stereotypes…doing events like a soul food Saturday…[and] should host cultural events like doing braids,” Syphax said. “I love the way Haraya has events that show off their culture, and I think we should have events that show off our culture as well.”
Though the group denied commentary on elaborating about their goals this semester, they hope students join their group regardless of what year they are.