By Olivia Montes
On Nov. 2, the Washington College Black Student Union was named Club of the Month by the Student Government Association.
Throughout the fall 2021 semester, BSU not only strived to help both returning and incoming students readjust to a new college experience, but also continue initiating a safe, inclusive space for students to be seen, heard, and support one another. This serves as “the underlying philosophy” of BSU is “to serve and unify all students at WC,” according to the organization’s Instagram page.
According to Associate Director of Student Financial Aid and BSU Advisor Erneatka Webster — while BSU was previously honored by the College as Organization of the Year during the 2016-17 academic year, and Webster as Advisor of the Year in 2019 — being named Club of the Month was both exciting and monumental.
“[This honor] symbolizes us being heard, being seen, and know[ing] that we’re making an impact,” she said. “This covenant moment just shows us that everyone is paying attention, [and] it makes me feel good to know that we’re impacting the students in the College community.”
For BSU Treasurer and junior Tamara Dyer, this honor reflects how much the College community has come together towards further developing an understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus. Dyer said this honor also how far they and the campus have come towards achieving unity, as demonstrated by collaborations with fellow clubs and organizations such as Cleopatra’s Sisters, Kappa Sigma Omicron Pi, and the Black Studies Program.
“It’s very important to us that everyone sees BSU not just as a club specifically for Black students, but for everyone to get a better understanding of what the Black student experience is like not only at WC, but in society,” Dyer said. “We’ve been working really hard this semester in terms of events…and getting Club of the Month meant that we’re really following [our] philosophy of uniting students on campus.”
This recognition also serves as a major accomplishment highlighting the effort, time, and energy the executive board, as well as current and incoming members, put into making BSU the organization it is today, according to BSU Service Chair and junior Shola Akinbobola.
“I’m very proud of [both] BSU and the executive board for their hard work and dedication,” Akinbobola said. “This is definitely well deserved, [and] this means we should keep up the hard work and continue to unify the campus and community.”
“I hope we can continue to grow and develop and build long-lasting relationships with students, staff, and the whole community,” Akinbobola said. “I also hope we can continue to host and throw the best events possible for the campus.”
“[This honor] also means that all our efforts this semester and the 2020-21 academic year aren’t being ignored or undervalued, and that we are being valued as a club and as [WC] students,” Dyer said.
For the upcoming spring 2022 semester, Webster said that the BSU is currently planning events that center on ancestry, community, and empowerment. This includes dedicating this year’s Black History Month to abolitionist Frederick Douglass, partnering with fellow activists and organizations in Chestertown, and continuing to spread their outreach to others across campus.
As the fall semester continues, Webster said that she hopes this recognition will not only further “build bridges and mend gaps” between WC students, staff, and faculty members toward reaching further empowerment, inclusivity, and support, but also reinforce the need to “build that community unity” both on campus and within the surrounding Chestertown area.
“I just want everyone to be a part of the change, and everyone as a whole and the campus to be part of the change that we need, not only on campus, but in the world — period,” she said. “We’re here as one, [and] we should unite as one…because we’re here for the same goal: to build the College up.”
According to Dyer, while this honor is significant, it also serves as a catalyst for the need for more than just initiating conversations and devoting time to advocate for active change.
“It takes a lot more than a conversation for [changes] to get done; [while] conversations are definitely meaningful…we need a lot more action than just talking,” Dyer said. “[I also hope that the College] continues to learn that we are here to help.”
“We’re not just here to be representatives of one specific community on campus; we’re here to be multifaceted students…and the better we help people to understand that we can’t speak on one experience [and] we have a lot of different experiences, and all of those help to make this campus better,” she said.
For more information concerning events and how to get involved with the organization, students can follow BSU at @wac_bsu.