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The Black Student Union reactivated at Post

By Amisha Temal, Staff Writer

In the 2022 spring semester, students collaborated to restart the Black Student Union (BSU) at Post. BSU is a student-run organization that ensures Black students have a vessel for resources, opportunities, and inclusion. In its pursuit to diversify Post, BSU welcomes all students to join and participate in meetings and events. Every Thursday during common hour, the club hosts a meeting in the multicultural lounge in room 206 of Hillwood Commons. 

BSU has an active Instagram and Twitter account. They also have an up-to-date page on the Post presence website. On Presence, it says, 

“Black Student Union (BSU) promotes a welcoming and united space for students of color to have an effective partnership between our members and the LIU Post Campus Community. We will ensure our members will receive motivating and empowering personal development skills. BSU strives to provide educational, political, cultural, and social programs to the LIU Community. Our mission is to empower our members to realize their potential in an ever-changing society and to be life-long learners and leaders.” 

The first Black Student Union was established in 1960 to relieve college students of racial discrimination. Now, universities nationwide are rapidly introducing Black Student Unions as a community for students to advocate and uphold racially diverse incentives and opportunities. It emphasizes the importance of catering to students’ intersectional identities. The organization makes sure Black students feel safe and welcome on campus through events and general meetings. The main goal is to unify black students as well as others on campus. All students are eligible to join BSU. The organization is open to involvement from all ethnicities, gender identities, sexualities, religions and economic backgrounds. 

Senior sports marketing major Noah Anderson spoke on his relation to BSU as on of the co-presidents. Anderson attended BSU’s Wildin Out event at the start of his freshman year. From then on, he has been heavily involved in the organization.

Anderson assists the executive board with responsibilities and duties. He strategizes and controls the BSU budget in coordination with the treasurer, discusses and reviews business matters with the advisor, and acts as a BSU spokesperson. 

“I noticed early on how much of a minority I was at Post. I’ve taken multiple courses where I am the only Black person in the class and in my senior year, I’ve maybe had two Black professors over the course of my four years. With all that being said, I found my community and sense of belonging through athletics and BSU. Getting involved with BSU early has had a profound impact on my overall college experience and I encourage other Black students to do the same,” Anderson said. “Having a BSU on campus is vital because we attend a predominantly white institution (PWI). As minority students, BSU allows us the opportunity to come together and create a safe and fun environment through interactive, entertaining and festive programming. BSU also acts as the chief liaison between Black students and the university’s administration to take active measures toward fostering and enriching the university’s environment.” 

During his earlier years at Post, Anderson maintained a position on the executive board while being on the football team. 

“There are many micro aggressions and subliminal undertones that I’ve faced as a Black student-athlete here at post. Being on the football team specifically comes with a certain perception and assumptions of character from other students. Unfortunately, other students miss out on some good, genuine people. I hope that BSU will better integrate student-athletes with the other student body and knock down the stereotypes and stigmas we face”, Anderson said. “Now that BSU is back, future students of color have a student organization and community to join on campus. BSU affords students leadership opportunities within our executive board where you develop and implement skills that can be used in life outside of school and build your resume. Moreover, BSU in collaboration with LIU’s IEC, the Inclusion and Equity Council, hopes to revive different fraternities and sororities that were on campus in years past.” 

Sophomore criminal justice major Shaylin Martinez is the co-president of BSU. Martinez started as the secretary for BSU during her freshman year. She discussed how she feels about the club’s presence. 

“I was secretary for BSU my freshman year under a different presidency position

and truly fell in love with our values and the community we had built. I’m a Bronx native. Moving to a predominantly white suburban town, Northport Long Island, was a complete utter culture shock. I live in a predominantly white suburban town. This experience made it important that if I had the opportunity to be a part of an organization like BSU, I’d be involved. When I arrived at Post in the fall, this organization was the first I spotted at student involvement day; seeing people that looked like me and made me feel comfortable was a breath of fresh air.”

Martinez spoke about her close relationships with the members of BSU. 

“I’ve been lucky to have professors that care and listen, they have truly been a blessing and made my experience here at Post easier. When you feel valued in a classroom, it just pushes you to strive for more. Many professors during my freshman year have made a great impact on me,” Martinez said. “They allowed me to see potential in myself for a leadership role in an organization like BSU. Although I didn’t have professors of color, that did not diminish my experience at a PWI. However, I do hope we can challenge Post to hire more faculty of color so students feel seen and heard. BSU is a business that represents POC at Post. We really hope to build connections with faculty here in order to create the best events that will build our reputation as the new BSU.”

Freshman health-sciences major Britney Merlain is the co-secretary of BSU. She is a part of BSU so that Black students like herself can be heard and included in more academic settings and events. 

“I got involved in BSU by signing up during common hour,” she said. “Princess Henderson and Noah Anderson were promoting the group, and I joined because I wanted to be more involved on campus and find a place of belonging. Through the first meeting alone, I was inspired to join the board because I wanted to be a part of making a difference for Black students on this campus who feel as if their voices are not considered.” 

“The weekly BSU meetings are a safe place for students on campus because they allow free expression. Through the informal format, we encourage students to get to know each other better and voice their concerns. Not constricting on what they’re allowed to express, we try to make it a place in which no one is shy to express their opinions and we can have fun together as a group,” Merlain said. “Making it inclusive, we aim to host events such as the taste of the world and rep your flag to encourage the members to become cognizant of other cultures and create a newfound appreciation for everyone’s background and heritage. With BSU I want to connect with alumni and help them reach out to our members. Speaking on their careers and how they thrive as black leaders, I want BSU to be something that extends outside LIU Post. With the climate that we’re in right now it’s pivotal to build a lasting community and giving students mentors will help them tremendously.” 

Sophomore healthcare administration major Synnovea Narine is the vice president of BSU. She spoke on the organization’s importance and growth. 

“l hope that LIU can slowly start becoming an institution that is safe for people of color. BSU shares the multicultural lounge(MCL) with IEC. It’s a safe space for meetings because the lounge is furnished along with having a tv,snacks, and air conditioning. This makes students feel more comfortable when they step in. I love the MCL but after seeing our meeting attendance go up I think we need a bigger multicultural space. God willing, we are hoping to get merch in so we can sell them along with having a goodbye party for our current president graduating and also a family bbq before we go on summer vacation. Do watch out for the flyers and buy tickets.”

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