Black Student Union makes plans for next year

First activity will be a cookout, faculty moderators say


Jade Zhao

Members of the Black Student Union gather in the Welch Activity Center after the conclusion of the Black History Month assembly.

Kamryn Utley, Reporter

With the school year coming to a close, the Black Student Union moderators are already planning events for next year.

Mrs. Jean Smith ‘97, director of philanthropic engagement, and Mr. Ken Barlow ‘82 , vice president for community relations and diversity, serve as the group’s faculty moderators and emphasize that the BSU is run by students.

BSU is an affinity club, or a club formed around a shared interest. BSU is for students who identify as Black. In this club members support each other, talk about issues and inform the school about Black culture. Barlow noted that affinity clubs such as the Black Student Union are, as he wrote in an email, “Simply families within our larger Cathedral family who support the mission (and) vision of the school in alignment with our Holy Cross core value of inclusiveness and diversity.

The Black Student Union just wrapped up a successful year, with most events in full swing now that Covid-19 restrictions have been eliminated. Students were allowed to be face to face with each other and there were more opportunities for participants to gather.

This past year the group hosted their first fall bonfire, ran the Black History month assembly, had the inaugural Black Student Union senior salute, partnered with other schools like Park Tudor, University, and Brebeuf Jesuit for a Black Student Union skating party as well as conducted frequent membership meetings.

Sophomore Aolani Cannon is an active member in the Black Student Union and attended the skating party. “It was fun skating with friends and enjoying the music, and it meant a lot to be with my friends in the Black Student Union,” Cannon said.

With the year coming to a close, the Black Student Union now looks to next year. The moderators are looking forward to adding more events with other schools’ BSUs. They also want to continue to run the Black History month assembly during the February and have a fall bonfire while still holding monthly meetings.

Smith urges students to join one of the school’s affinity groups, a sport or other student activity. “I want every student to find a home on the Hill. We want everyone to find a way to connect here. Affinity clubs, like BSU, are simply families within the larger school community.”

Cannon expressed her feelings for the club and what it means to her as an African American woman. She said, “The Black Student Union allows me to feel connected to everyone and know more people. I encourage incoming freshmen and those interested to join. Everyone told me how fun it would be and I love it.”

The club will kick off next year with a collaboration of the Black Student Union and the Black Alumni Council. They will host a cookout together as a way of celebrating the start of a new school year. “Black Student Union had a great year, and it was beneficial in highlighting Black history,” said Barlow. “We kick off the 2022-2023 school year with a collaboration between the Cathedral Black Alumni Council and the Black Student Union by hosting a cookout. All are welcome.”