Black Student Union recruits freshmen

Ashanka Kumari

The Black Student Union, known for being the first African-American student organization on campus, will be accepting applications for their new freshman segment called the Future Black Leaders of UA starting this fall.

The Black Student Union, or BSU, was founded in 1968 as the main social hub for black students on the UA campus, said President Josh Gray. Through the organization, students are connected to resources to help them learn how the campus operates.

“This year, we are adding a new freshman-only group called the FBLUA so that freshman students can be connected to our black student culture,” Gray said. “We have Freshman Forum and other great organizations that students can go to, but these organizations tend to not connect as much to the black student culture, so we created this to help these students connect to other students for career and professional development.”

To be considered for membership, a student must fill out an application and attach two forms of recommendation. From these applications, students will be pulled in to an interview process, with 50 students set to make the final group, Gray said.

According to the website, FBLUA was created based on three key areas in which the black community should excel in order to become effective leaders on campus and in life in general: professional development, leadership advancement and campus awareness.

“FBLUA will meet once a week, and at every meeting, we will break our three goals up into sessions,” said Passione Cooper, one of the students in charge of FBLUA. “Every session will start out with a lecture telling freshmen what they need to know, followed by a hands-on activity. We want to give them the tools they need to connect with other students in the BSU and on campus.”

Gray said the BSU does many community service and programming events centered on black student culture.

BSU will hold their first event, ONYX, on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m. in the Ferguson Center Plaza. ONYX is a collaborative event between the National Pan-Hellenic Council and BSU, designed as a miniature Get on Board Day, Gray said.

“It’s basically like a block party. Tables will be set up with different information for students to get, and there will be chances to win prizes and also free food,” Gray said. “There will also be strolling from the Greek community.”

The first general body meeting for the BSU will be held on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. in Room 300 of the Ferguson Center.

“At this meeting, we will go over organization business and also have a planning meeting,” Gray said. “All the students involved will be active on planning committees. It’s basically like a mini-forum inside the group.”

Nancy Hogan, a senior majoring in marketing with a minor in fashion retail, serves as the executive assistant for BSU.

“I got involved my sophomore year, and BSU definitely established a really strong network where I could meet other students who have the same focus and want to go in similar directions on campus,” Hogan said. “It also has the social function. BSU helped me to build a friend base on campus and network with other people who are involved on campus. I got involved my sophomore year, and I think the new component was made to reach out so that freshmen can jump in and find their place on campus a lot sooner.”

Applications can be found online at bama.ua.edu/~bsu. The deadline for applications is Sept. 15.