The Black Student Union (BSU) is looking to become a prominent club on the campus of Goshen College this year.
Led by first-years Alia Byrd, Lydia Beachy and Nashon Lora and sophomores A’Sean Street and Étienne Davis, BSU wants students to learn more about the group, starting by removing common misconceptions. For instance, Street made it clear that BSU wants students “to feel a part of BSU regardless of skin color.”
“BSU is not just for African Americans,” Street said. “It’s for anyone who wants to learn more or just be a part of the club.”
Street is not alone in emphasizing the groups desire for broader campus involvement.
“BSU wants natural participation,” Davis said. “If this is a diverse campus, everyone should care.” He added, “We want people to want to come to our events, not feel obligated to come and support what we care about.”
Davis feels that the claim that Goshen is a diverse campus is being tested by the fact that “the events that are heavily attended are the events that have nothing to do with diversity.” Although he made the exception of the Goshen Monologues, International Coffee House, and some chapels, Davis nevertheless believes that “BSU does not seem important to the student body or the faculty.”
He sees this as an opportunity for letting “Goshen College know that [BSU is] an important group on this campus.”
As a way to become more widely known, BSU held a movie night on October 9 featuring the movie “Crash,” which is a film that deals with themes of race, stereotypes, social classes and how those issues are handled by our society. It included a number of characters from different cultural, social and economical backgrounds that led to some problematic interactions. Davis and other BSU leaders chose this movie as a “powerful visual that would spark meaningful conversation.”
After the showing of the film, the group that was present had a conversation.
The conversation began by noting the low number of people that attended the event, and addressed how the film itself appeared to be “over saturated with stereotypes” before moving into a discussion of how these themes correlate with what the group thought about the people and experiences had by these individuals on Goshen College’s campus.
BSU wants to “continue with Goshen’s theme of diversity,” and they have some surprises for the campus.
“The leadership for BSU has changed,” Davis said. “So there will be some exciting changes to the schedule of events.”
In the future, along with more movie nights, BSU is planning to have a talent show.