Black Student Union begins to rebuild


Photo Credit: (RMU Sentry Media)

Natalie O'Neil, Contributor

After conflicts early in the year, the Black Student Union at Robert Morris University is beginning to rebuild and work toward their future.

When leadership issues arose among the BSU, members decided the best course of action would be to hold a re-election.

“There were two groups within BSU and they both had different ideas of how they wanted the organization to work and function.  It got to the point where there was no compromise,” said BSU advisor, Victoria Snyder. “There had been some leadership and personality conflicts and so we decided the best alternative was to do new elections and move forward.”

The elections were held Nov. 5 after nominations were made the night before.

Gabrielle Lewis remained in the presidency role after running uncontested.  Now that the new board has been chosen, the organization is looking forward to developing and growing on campus.

The officers met Nov. 11 to discuss a new plan.  This includes drafting a new constitution, bylaws, and action plan of how they want the organization to look.  They are currently working on plans for not only this semester, but many semesters to come.

“They’re really excited, they were voted on by their peers, and so I think we’re now at a point where we can begin to move forward,” said Snyder.  “I think that you’ll be able to see a lot more exciting events coming out.”

Once these conflicts were out of the way, the organization was able to focus on what they wanted accomplish.

“I think that they’re going to be able to do some really important things,” said Snyder.  “I think that with a little bit of help and support from the other communities, they’ll be able to be one of the premier organizations on campus.”

The organization has many events planned for the upcoming year including many that revolve around service and bettering the community.

“At the beginning of the year, as the advisor, I said, ‘This is your rebuilding year.  How are you going to rebrand the BSU?’  They have some ideas of some cool events and projects,” said Snyder.

One of the service organizations BSU works with is devoted to the awareness of Sickle Cell Anemia.  BSU will be working with them to set up awareness tables and other events to spread awareness.

While the organization got off to a rough start, Snyder displays unwavering support and faith in the students involved.

“This is the third BSU that I’ve advised at different institutions and this is the first one where it’s students actively saying, ‘We want more, we want to do more, we can be more.’”

This semester alone, the BSU has already built more consistent attendance and involvement.  Last year the average attendance for meetings was about 10 students, now average attendance ranges from 25 to 35 students this year.

Snyder attributes this to an increased interest in getting involved and the importance of the organization as a whole.

“At a predominately white institution, I think every voice is important, especially those where there’s not very many that have a voice.  So, by having a Black Student Union it not only brings the black community together, but it brings that community into the community as a whole,” said Snyder.

Snyder believes the BSU appeals to many because it is not only a place to share culture and heritage, but also concerns, questions and connections with others.

“A lot of students that are here are seen and not heard and I think this is a great pedestal for their voice to be expressed on campus.”