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Celebrating Black Excellence: Black Student Union fosters sense of belonging, encourages student success

Community Engagement Events Feb 20, 2024

Members of the Black Student Union at a table selling tickets to their event The Black Student Union (BSU) at IU South Bend is a place for students to obtain a community of support.

“BSU uplifts Black students while also acknowledging their experiences, not only at IUSB, but within the broader society,” said Chloe Robinson, criminal justice professor and co-advisor for BSU. “BSU provides a supportive and empowering space for Black students on campus.”

BSU works to unite words and actions, providing a place to connect different Black student organizations on campus. It also aims to offer an opportunity for students of all races to celebrate Black culture, lifestyle, and history.

As part of their mission to encourage inclusivity while highlighting inspirational contributions in the Black community, the organization is hosting the inaugural Evening of Black Excellence: A Shared Story on campus February 28. This event is a night of community and celebration, featuring three guest speakers, Lynn Coleman, Takisha Jacobs, and Aja Ellington, along with student discussions about what Black excellence means to them and what it has looked like in their own lives.

“We are all connected, and I believe there’s no greater way to celebrate that than by coming together and giving each other their flowers,” remarked Amber Brown, BSU club leader. “There is power in sharing stories, bringing people together, and forming unity.”

BSU is also dedicated to bringing awareness to critical issues facing the Black community. The organization just wrapped up an open discussion on the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act in California. Known as the CROWN Act, the legislation prohibits discrimination based on hair style and texture and is the first in the country to provide protections at the state level.

“Throughout the year I found people who understood the struggles I was going through, and they lifted me up and encouraged me to persevere,” said Brie Simmons, BSU club president. “As the community grows, I am constantly reminded what good people I am surrounded by.”

BSU has become a place for students to build one another up and encourage positive growth. “In order to succeed academically you need a community behind you, supporting you, encouraging you to be your best. That truly is what the BSU is,” Simmons said.

The club welcomes everyone to their meetings which are held every Monday from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. in Admin 114. “BSU is a great avenue for new students to feel a genuine connection with others and a great place to have fun,” explained Brown. “It has also given me opportunities, like exploring creativity with event planning and communication.”

An Evening of Black Excellence: A Shared Story is open to the community and will take place on Wednesday, February 28th from 5-8 p.m. in the University Grill, located in the Administration Building. To learn more and purchase tickets for An Evening of Black Excellence, please visit:


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