(courtesy Black Student Alliance)
Being a minority student at CU might be a challenge but some students, like football player Paul Vigo, continuously work to overcome difficulties with support from groups like the Black Student Alliance
Vigo, a 20-year-old sophomore sociology major, said he decided to come to BSA’s event “Night of Soul” with his family, after he was invited by friends.
Vigo said that at first, being a minority at CU was difficult.
“I’m getting used to it,” Vigo said. “There are great organizations like BSA and football, which has been a great support system. I’ve gotten to meet people who have reached out.”
BSA’s Director of Communications Tsion Zergaw, a 20-year-old junior MCD biology major, said BSA’s purpose is to create a campus environment that inspires diversity and good academic standings, and creates a place to learn about black culture in America.
BSA hosts various events throughout the year like Black Love Week, and forms connections with the other Big 12 schools. BSA is a nationwide group. It has been at CU since 1969.
Zergaw said BSA hopes to promote diversity at CU.
“CU is a very non-diverse school,” Zergaw said. “I’ve visited more competitive schools and they are way more diverse than CU and have less people. Only a minute percentage of the school is non-white, but college is about how you handle your challenges. That’s what BSA tries to do in terms of promoting diversity.”
She also said many students who come to CU believe that the school is more diverse than it actually is.
“As a freshman [the lack of diversity] is a shock,” she said. “It’s not the school we thought it is. Having BSA around is helpful.”
Demi DeLoach, a 20-year-old junior international affairs and political science major who is a delegate for the Big 12 Black Student Government, said some people from primarily black communities come to school in Boulder and are in culture shock.
“CU is not diverse and that is why we’re here,” DeLoach said. “We reach out to students that feel alone. This is a second home for a lot of people.”
Aisha Thurmond, an 18-year-old freshman engineering major, said she is not a member of BSA yet, but came to “Night of Soul” after getting a Facebook invitation.
“I wanted to check [the event] out and see what it was like,” Thurmond said.
She added that as an engineering major, she has already seen the lack of diversity at CU. She said being a minority has been difficult so far.
Awet Yohannes, a 21-year-old sophomore integrative physiology major and BSA member, said BSA focuses on history and socializing.
“At the meetings, we talk about black history and what’s happening in the community and the use of the N-word,” Yohannes said. “It’s a way to meet friends, socialize and understand the community better.”
Cat Altman, an employee at the Student Academic Services Center and faculty advisor for sub-scribe.org, a minority news online publication that publishes an issue once a semester, was also in attendance at the “Night of Soul.”
“There was no place for [minorities] to express themselves,” Altman said. “That’s why it [sub-scribe.org] was created.”
Altman said she also works to help ease difficulties any minority, whether an ethnic minority or a student facing a disability, might face.
BSA welcomes all students to attend the events and join the group, Zergaw said.
“There’s a stigma that you would have to be of a certain race to join,” she said. “We have good events for people to attend and have fun, well-planned meetings. Our officer team is also diverse.”
Jay Wellman, a 21-year-old junior mechanical engineering major, said he has noticed diversity at CU when studying in the Bold Center in the Engineering building.
Although he is not a minority and is not a member of BSA, he said he came to “Night of Soul” to have a good time and support the students.
“[I came for] good people, good music and good food,” Wellman said.
Ultimately, BSA members said, it’s about bring people together.
DeLoach said, “BSA is just trying to bring unity.”
Contact CU Independent Social Media Editor Sara Fruman at Sara.email@example.com.
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