Black Student Union held a luncheon in the President’s Dining Room Wednesday in honor of Black History Month.
An intimate gathering of students, club members and faculty ate a catered lunch together where they relaxed and discussed what black history means to them.
“The premise for the lunch was to bring members of BSU together in a casual setting for fellowship,” Mathieu Koontz, senior liberal arts major and BSU events coordinator, said.
Lunch attendees crowded the spread of chicken wings, hush puppies, mac’n’cheese and collard greens from Day Day’s BBQ and Waffle House.
“We chose soul food because it is a cultural food – black soul food,” Koontz said.
“Because this is Black History Month, and food is important for our culture, we wanted the ULV community to come together and take a breather from hectic schedules,” Deveeda Smith, senior child development major and BSU president, said.
Club members enjoyed the welcoming and relaxed atmosphere created by the executive board members and the advisor.
“I like BSU just for the experience of being around other African-Americans since there aren’t a lot of us here,” Chancise Watkins, senior speech communications major, said. “It’s a fun environment and has a family vibe. Every event that we host is exciting to go to.”
Towards the end of the lunch, attendees reflected on what Black History Month means to them, and why their experience is important and integral to the campus community.
“I have mixed feelings about Black History Month,” Gage Henderson, junior social science, said. “I feel like we shouldn’t use this one month to have pride. We should have pride in black history every day.
Others in the room echoed his sentiments, especially Leeshawn Moore, director of institutional research and BSU advisor.
“Black history is American history,” Moore said. “We are just trying to highlight it. This is a multicultural community – it isn’t a homogeneous black community.”
Moore was asked early on to be the club adviser, which she gladly accepted, especially since there are currently few black administrators on campus, she said.
Her favorite aspect of BSU is the discussions they have regarding all cultural issues, especially in the black and Latino communities.
“I think it’s important for them to have events because it is important to their ULV experience,” Moore said. “It’s an opportunity for the La Verne community to get together and expose the black community to other people.”
Students from other ethnic backgrounds attended and said that they appreciate the welcoming nature of BSU.
The lunch, open to everyone, was a chance for them to show openness to diversity within their own club. After several other BSU hosted events this month, the lunch was a winding down and relaxing period before its next three events for the end of Black History Month.
Upcoming events include a poetry event in the Jane Dibbell Cabaret, a “soul lounge,” described as a Harlem Renaissance jazz lounge, and a “men appreciation day” where members and other students and faculty will reflect on men throughout history that have made major contributions to literature, politics, science and art.
Hayley Hulin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.