For Black Student Union President Kourtney Thompson, her student organization helps foster a feeling of “togetherness” among Black students on Main Campus.
“We have a safe space agreement where we consistently promote a space where you can come and kind of say how you feel,” said Thompson, a junior advertising major.
This week, the organization will host its third annual BSU Week. Admission is free for all the week’s events.
“That week is centered around Blackness and Black culture,” Thompson said. “The week is to essentially give [the Black student community] content and events that are specifically marketed to them and created for them.”
For this year’s installment, the BSU adopted a mixtape theme, where each event will relate to a particular song.
On Monday, the BSU kicked off the week with “What’s the Scenario,” a discussion series named after the song “Scenario” by A Tribe Called Quest. The discussion questioned how what-if scenarios would impact Black people like “What if Hillary [Clinton] won?”, said Gabe Jones, a sophomore marketing major and the BSU’s marketing and promotions chair.
“We try to make an environment that’s not class-like, where you feel like you’re being lectured at that whole time,” Thompson said. “It’s more like we’re giving you information, and you can discuss what you think about it and [how] it affects you personally and the world around you.”
The BSU holds discussions similar to Monday’s program as part of its weekly meetings for its 75 general body members and 10 executive board members. While discussions sometimes cover serious issues, like environmental racism, Jones said the topics vary.
“We just had one on Black cartoons, we’ve had one on conspiracy theories, stuff like that,” Jones said. “Our upcoming discussion is on Black philanthropy.”
Some discussions earlier in the semester have been focused on family dynamics in the Black community, hate speech compared to free speech and beauty standards.
“We like to bring up things that will affect our community that most people won’t want to talk about,” said Sariyah Andrews, a sophomore Africology and African American studies major and BSU’s event coordinator.
Tuesday’s event is a photo shoot for members of several campus minority organizations. Groups including the Progressive NAACP, the Student Organization for Caribbean Awareness and the Organization of African Students will gather at the Office of Institutional Diversity, Equity, Advocacy and Leadership on Broad Street near Diamond at 4 p.m. The BSU hopes to use the pictures from the photoshoot to create an independent student organization yearbook.
Andrews said the photo shoot is meant to promote “Black Boy Joy” and “Black Girl Magic,” which are social media movements that celebrate Black people.
“We’re gonna have a photoshoot in the IDEAL office just to…show everyone that we care about them at Black Temple and show them they can feel empowered,” Andrews said.
BSU Week will also include a dance workshop on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in Morgan D301, where junior communication studies major Celine Corbie will teach attendees choreography to the song “Tempo” by Chris Brown. The following day, the organization will host a screening of “Straight Outta Compton” at 7 p.m. in Room 200C of the Student Center.
The week will conclude with Friday’s Black Business Marketplace, a gathering of 22 Black-owned businesses and campus minority organizations at 5 p.m. in Student Center Room 200C.
The collection of 20 vendors will include groups like Maschine Life Empire, a Philadelphia-based rap group with its own clothing line, and sophomore psychology major Zeina Fofana, who runs her own art business called Art By Zay. Fofana will sell her work and create live paintings at the marketplace.
The week’s events are intended to be fun but also serve a greater purpose of uniting people of color on campus, Andrews said.
“Seeing those white faces, seeing people that don’t look like you is hard,” Andrews said. “I take pride in using my position to connect everyone who is a person of color on this campus.”