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Black Student Association looks to strengthen campus community

| Tuesday, February 13, 2018

After forming last semester, the Saint Mary’s Black Student Association (BSA) continues to look ahead to further success and growth.

Senior and president of BSA MaKayla Roberts said she hopes students feel welcome and embraced at Saint Mary’s.

“Our goals for this year involves making the students — specifically the new students — feel more comfortable around campus,” Roberts said.

Members of the new club find the bi-weekly meetings create a space of belonging on campus and offer the opportunity for their presence to be recognized, first year and BSA member Ashanti Leach said.

“The fact that we have this club for minority students brings us all together [and] helps build community,” Leach said.

The BSA hopes to continue to foster this community to support one another and to raise awareness about the issues people of color can face, Roberts said.

“We want to help students get more acclimated to being on campus and host multicultural activities,” she said.

She said February, given it is Black History Month, is a time the BSA has looked forward to observing with the campus community.

“We have a couple of events coming up that we hope have the attendance to heighten awareness for the minority community,” Roberts said.

Among the planned events for this month is a Feb. 23 showing of “Detroit” with a panel about the film’s topic of police brutality to follow. Roberts said she hopes to orchestrate other panels and discussions for later this semester.

“In our mission statement, we talk about developing a liaison to help African-American students fit in,” Roberts said.

Also mentioned in the BSA’s mission statement is the desire to foster “community for African-American students during all of their years at Saint Mary’s.” The continuation of this community is an important part of its organization, Roberts said. Having underclassmen involved in the organization gives Roberts hope the efforts to start the club will pay off, since so many of the members will be returning next year to continue the group’s mission.

“A majority of our club is [first years], and we have a few sophomores,” Roberts said. “We’d love to see what we’ve talked about get carried on to the following years while they’re here.”

The attendance at BSA meetings has been steady for most of the year, Leach said, but she hopes it will continue to grow.

“We want to reach out to larger groups,” Leach said. “The goal is to educate the whole campus.”

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