Since its formation in the late 1960s, K-State’s Black Student Union has inspired, unified and prepared young black students for a bright future during their time on campus. Today, the organization continues the same tradition, led this year by BSU president Anita Easterwood.
Easterwood, senior in fine arts, is dedicated to helping students and ensuring their success by pushing them to live up to their full potential.
“She stimulates the ambition of those around her, wanting to make them do better,” said Vuna Adams, junior in finance who helped BSU plan to host the 36th annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government. “That is something that is very keen in her leadership, since she pushes people to exceed past their expectations and limitations on themselves.”
Her theme for the organization this year was “A Deeper Level.” She wanted to inspire and engage students to go deeper socially, emotionally and academically, as well as with their leadership skills.
“We really focus on the retention, the leadership and the development of the black student community, and serve as a resource,” Easterwood said, emphasizing the mission statement of the BSU.
To help fulfill this mission, the BSU assigns a personal mentor to students, pairing them up with an older student leader who has similar tastes and interests in order to help inspire students in their areas of focus.
Easterwood and the BSU are not only concerned with the academic success of their members, but also with their post-graduation prospects, preparing members with career services including education on how to apply for jobs, information for internships and assistance and advice for networking.
“I wanted to make every meeting be about something crucial and beneficial to the members, whether that would be history, graduate school or internships,” Easterwood said. “This is really an organization where you are here to learn and do something beneficial for yourself.”
Chandrika Brewton, senior in sociology and public relations delegate for the BSU, believes the organization plays a crucial role in helping students get involved.
“The BSU helps students with connections and networking in and out of the BSU,” Brewton said.
The number of students the BSU retains, as well as its graduation numbers, are higher than they have ever been before, Brewton said. These are part of the organization’s primary goals.
The BSU holds many events throughout the year, including electing a Mr. and Mrs. BSU for the annual homecoming celebration, organization meetings, tutoring and study sessions and various cultural events.
The 36th annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government kicked off Thursday in the K-State Student Union and concludes Saturday night.
“We really try to be that home away from home for students who feel like they are on their own,” Easterwood said.