Black Student Union hosts play

Despite funding cuts, the mission of BSU stays strong and their first major event is set.

Betsy Graca

Although the University continues to cut the Black Student Union’s funding, the group is increasing its role at the University and in the community through engaging events.

Despite reduced funding, the group has successfully organized its first major event of the academic year.

The BSU is hosting Stogie Kenyatta’s one-man play about the life of Paul Robeson, a social activist and legendary musician, actor and scholar, Wednesday night.

BSU President Wilfried Zehourou said he expects a large turnout from students of all ethnicities and backgrounds.

“We want everyone to reap the benefits of Black Student Union events,” Zehourou said.

Zehourou added his emphasis this year is on the organization and professionalism of BSU events.

The group has already held several events, including a first-year student welcome breakfast, as well as résumé and marketing workshops. Zehourou said he plans other events that will address Black History Month and other important topics.

“We’re trying to expand our horizons and be more active in the community,” BSU member and English sophomore Serina Jamison said.

Niyi Ayinde, BSU community development chairman, is initiating plans to promote volunteering within the group, specifically as mentors for black children among other community-building activities.

In addition, the group introduces high school students from surrounding communities to the University each year in hopes they will find ambition for their own future.

Isaiah Potts, publicity chairman of the BSU, said the union doesn’t want to limit itself this year in any way.

As part of that initiative, Potts has been connecting with many other student groups to increase unity among students. Such groups include the Minnesota Student Association, La Raza, Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence and various theater groups.

Zehourou and Potts said the group has been preparing for events long in advance to ensure a sharp presentation, whereas previous years were less organized.

Zehourou also said he wants to bring big names to the University to increase awareness. He said hip-hop artist Lupe Fiasco will perform in December in honor of World AIDS Day.

Planning events isn’t the only action the BSU has taken to improve the group’s role at the University.

“This year’s vision is to bridge the gap (among students) and restore the mission,” Zehourou said.

According to the group’s mission statement, the BSU’s goals are to further black awareness, make significant contributions to the community, and provide an intellectually, culturally and socially stimulating environment for students of African origin.

The group is aligning itself with the University-wide diversity initiative hoping to impact the entire campus.

Zehourou said he is confident their efforts in planning the upcoming events and activities will increase awareness both on campus and in the community.

“This will probably be one of the greatest years we have had,” he said.