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Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Wichita State's independent, student-run news source

The Sunflower

Black Student Union fosters professional development through events, workshops

Black Student Union members pose for a photo. (Photo courtesy of BSU)

Black Student Union leaders aim to instill feelings of safety and community in its members.

“We’re just trying to create a safe space for African American students and identifying student allies here on campus,” Aubany Russell, president of BSU, said. 

BSU also has multiple community and unity initiatives — one of which is the BSU families. 

The 11 members of the executive cabinet divide the BSU members among themselves and serve as a team lead of their “family.” BSU families eat dinner and hang out together.

Black Student Union’s theme in February was educational and professional development. The organization’s “Securing the Job” series includes workshops on resume building, creating LinkedIn profiles and interview tips. 

Russell said the goal is to prepare students for a campus-wide career fair that BSU hopes to host.

The workshops also prepared members for the annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government. The event, which ran from Feb. 29 through March 2, was the 47th annual conference.

This year’s theme, “The Great Expression: Unearthing our roots and owning our truths” encompasses three main points: self-love, African/slave history, and tributes to the diaspora.

In addition to participating in workshops, attendees listened to keynote speakers like Sheena Howard and Melissa Proctor. 

“They speak to the Black experience within professional development,” Russell said. 

Howard is an author, filmmaker and scholar. She has published “The Encyclopedia of Black Comics,” as well as several comic books. She was the editor of “Why Wakanda Matters: What Black Panther Reveals About Psychology, Identity, and Communication.”

Proctor is the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and State Farm Arena.

Black Student Union has also provided various resources to Black students. In 2022, former BSU president Omarian Brantley used his money to provide Black hair care products in Shocker Hall, which he stored in the Black Excellence Floor he created.

These developments left when Brantley graduated, but BSU members said they still try to generate opportunities for support and connection through its events and professional development opportunities.

BSU also partnered with Lambda Pi Upsilon, a Latina-oriented sorority chapter at WSU, to plan an event called “Check Your Privilege.” 

The event on March 20 will highlight the “intersectionalities that we all play a part in,” according to Russell. Participants will respond to questions surrounding their identity and life challenges, such as, “Who is a first-generation student?”

“All of us deal with these things in our own ways,” Russell said. “Just because you think that they’re privileged in a sense … in reality, that may not be the case.”

More information about BSU can be found on ShockerSync.

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About the Contributor
Loren Amelunke
Loren Amelunke, Reporter
Loren Amelunke is a first-year reporter for The Sunflower. She is a sophomore at Wichita State, currently pursuing a psychology major. She loves to write poetry and hopes to publish a poetry book in the near future.

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