Black History Month has received little recognition from students and groups around campus compared to years past, students say.
Students have targeted the event’s sparse advertising to be the culprit.
“I haven’t seen it advertised all that much,” said Shayne Guenther, a 21-year-old junior civil engineering major.
The lack of advertising on campus has played a key role in the decreased awareness about Black History Month, as many students rely on posters and word of mouth to stay on top of current events.
“I wasn’t even aware of it,” said Daniela Castaneda, a 20-year-old junior environmental engineering major. “I hadn’t heard any friends talking about it.”
Sparse advertising isn’t the only cause. Some students say that they just don’t find Black History Month to be a worthwhile event to mark down in their planners.
“Either people care, or they just don’t give a shit,” said Will Hartwig, a 24-year-old doctoral candidate in chemistry. “And those people, they have to keep their mouths shut because they’re the ones in the minority.”
Jennifer Bruce, a 21-year-old junior chemical and biological engineering major, said she is indifferent to February’s commemoration of past inequalities.
“Black History Month doesn’t affect me, so I don’t really care,” Bruce said.
There are also other factors that contribute to the decreased appreciation for the celebration, among them being the lack of diversity on campus, students say. According to the “CU-Boulder Enrollment by Gender and Ethnic/Racial Groups Over Time” chart issued by the Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis, the Caucasian headcount was at 22,958 as of fall 2009.
Conversely, minorities on campus figure at 4,362 for the fall of last year, with only 488 of those students being black. Because CU is predominately comprised of Caucasian students, it can lead to difficulties for minority groups to spread the word for their own cultural events.
Cleo Estrada, a student adviser for the Center for Multicultural Affairs, agrees with the above viewpoint.
“Yes. That’s not the only cause, but that has to have an impact on the general population,” Estrada said.
Kashina Meyers, a 20-year-old junior psychology major and a member of CMA, said she agrees.
“I think that there’s not much diversity on campus, and people really need to educate themselves about diversity, because there’s a lot of ignorance here,” Meyers said.
Students like Meyers said that they think the university should do more to promote diversity issues on campus, such as holding more activities to recognize Black History Month.
“The campus is not doing enough to get the world out,” said Yetunde Akinde, a 20-year-old junior biological science major and a member of the African Student’s Association at CU. “The people that are aware get it from the news or Facebook.”
Many students interviewed said they weren’t aware that February was Black History Month.
“It’s Black History Month?” said Joel Jones, a 20-year-old sophomore environmental engineering major. “I didn’t even know that.”
Though the events are limited, there are some groups that are holding activities to promote awareness of Black Heritage Month.
The Center for Multicultural Affairs is hosting a Mardi Gras party Feb. 16 as well as Soul Food Night on Feb. 17, and the African Student Association will be hosting a film series during the last week of the month.
However, other events are more exclusive, as ASA’s upcoming community gathering will be restricted to members only.
Last year there were a number of cultural events, as CU hosted numerous activities to celebrate and recognize Black Heritage Month, according to a news release from CU News in 2009.
Contrasting the previous year’s February-filled activities, this year only a few events are available to students campus-wide.
“The information isn’t out there for everyone,” Akinde said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Stephanie Loots at email@example.com.