Black Student Union forming at Delta

By Josie Norris, editor-in-chief.

UNIVERSITY CENTER, MI – Delta’s Black Student Union is reforming with the goal of being more than just another club. According to Student Diversity and Leadership Coordinator Carlos McMath, the club’s first objective is to improve student relationships on campus and be connected to the community outside Delta.

McMath says that he wants the organization to be a place to celebrate diversity. “[We’re] trying to foster an environment that fosters real diversity. Meaning that we are…looking past ethnicity and race and seeing who we are as a person,” says McMath.

Dean of Students Jonathan Miller sees the club’s formation as a way to bring community and awareness to Delta.

“It’s important to, first of all, to provide a resource for students of color who may be interested in connecting and not finding other connections on campus. I also think it’s important… to bring awareness to different cultures, including black culture and history.”

Delta has had a Black Student Union in the past according to McMath. However, due to the inconsistency of the group, it wasn’t effective. The union primarily met at the Ricker Center in Saginaw but wasn’t regularly involved on main campus, McMath explains.

The Black Student Union being reintroduced to Delta is more structured for the purpose of providing an “anti-deficit” view of black students on campus and the surrounding area, according to McMath.

Anyone can join, explains McMath, even if they are not black. McMath says that that is one of the most misunderstood aspects of a black student union.

“You don’t have to be of that origin… It does not mean you are in a sense a part of their community, but you are an ally,” says McMath.

Miller explains that the club will be “a resource to not only our students of color, but to all students who are either interested in black and African American culture, or students who are looking for other outlets to connect to on campus.”

The group will be a place where “black students or any students to come together and think, gather, experience and actually expand their horizons,” as well as work to address issues in their communities, according to McMath.

McMath also sees the club as a potential accountability group to help students succeed in academically and stick to their goals. McMath acknowledged that even though the academic advising office works hard to help students, some students need a bit more help. This is where the Black Student Union comes in, “to make sure we are motivating each other and hold each other to a higher standard,” McMath said.

Fostering future leaders and leadership skills is a large part of what the black student union will be, according to McMath. Using those skills, he says that “students should expect to make real social change; here on campus first and then begin to migrate off campus in their own communities.”

Student leadership and student-led initiative excites Miller.

“When they are brought forward by students, they are more likely to get more students engaged,” Miller says.

McMath has been laying down the groundwork for the club with the goal of fully establishing the club in August. Informational meetings will be held over the course of the next few months. The next informational meeting with be held on April 13 at Delta’s Ricker Center. More information will be posted on Delta’s calendar.

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