BSU President Shares her SU Experience

In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and the recent murder of Black people, members of the Black Student Union found it vital to meet, heal and collaborate to make changes on our campus. Members

A group photo of the Black Student UnionThe Black Student Union(BSU) is my source of hope at Seattle University. Since my first year, I have been frustrated with the microaggressions I've experienced on campus. One conversation that stuck with me happened my sophomore year. We were in a BSU meeting and addressed how our peers expect our input whenever the class discussion focuses on someone Black. BSU has been the only place I felt comfortable voicing this issue and knew people would truly understand.

Black Student Unions across the country have been a necessary resource for Black and African-American students, staff and faculty to find community. Black students frequently have to invest our time in spaces that aren't as pro-Black as the Black Student Union. Our club is a space for healing and authentic expression of the Black body. In the wake of Black Lives Matter protests and the recent murders of Black people, we found it vital to meet, heal and collaborate to make a change on our campus. In our recent Black community meetings, members had the freedom to express their struggles of being Black at a predominantly white institution and express their grief over the violence caused by systemic racism.

Black, Indigenous and People Of Color (BIPOC) students consistently overload themselves to establish better financial security to make ends meet. The inequities for Black students in colleges have been present for years and show up in enrollment, persistence and graduation data as stated in a recent Hechinger Report article. Black people have to work harder than our non-Black peers to succeed in our future careers. We have to work multiple jobs, join different clubs and are often required to work twice we hard as our white peers to reach similar standing.

Our club's initiatives have consistently centered the Black experience. As president, I initially felt guilty for asking for accommodations solely for Black students. Then, I realized that my role in BSU is to keep centering Black people and to advocate for resources, accommodations or supports that would not only increase, but improve the experience of Black students on campus. I'm passionate about leading the Black Student Union because there is much work to be done on this campus to make it a more just and equitable place for Black people and all people of color.

There are two ways alumni can support Black students on campus.

One way to support is through mentorship. We are working with the Career Engagement Office to be a part of the Black Alumni and Student Group on Redhawk Landing, the university’s new mentoring and networking platform. Alumni help us gain the experience and professional connections that we need before leaving campus. Many of us are registered for Redhawk Landing where we are excited to connect with alumni personally and professionally.

The second is donating to the first student-led, Black-serving scholarship at Seattle University. The Black Student Union Scholarship is intended to increase enrollment of Black and African-American students and help them persist and graduate with fewer financial concerns. Currently, we have raised over $16,000 for the fund. Most of the donations have come from students and parents. The fact that so many of our peers see us and are willing to support is awesome, but we still need help to fully-fund this initiative. Our fundraising goal is to reach $200,000 by February 1, 2021 so we are able to select at least 20 Black scholarship recipients in the spring. This amount would allow us to disperse scholarships to multiple students for years to come. This is a huge step towards making the university a more accessible environment for Black students and would highlight the Seattle U community's;commitment to supporting and uplifting marginalized students by helping to fund their education.

To make a donation to the BSU Scholarship, follow these steps.

  • Click here.
  • Select "other" under the designation.
  • Type in "Center for Student Involvement - BSU Scholarship" in the comments section.

Or you can send a check:

Make your check out to Seattle University.

Write "Center for Student Involvement - BSU Scholarship" on the memo line.

Mail your check to:
Seattle University
University Advancement
901 12th Ave.
PO Box 222000
Seattle, WA 98122

Adilia Watson, ‘21

September 2, 2020