“Make the movement matter.”
That is the lesson the Kansas State Black Student Union took away from the 40th annual Big 12 Conference on Black Student Government at the University of Texas in Austin this past weekend, adviser Brandon Clark said.
For the ninth time in 12 years, the K-State BSU won the award for the Most Outstanding Black Student Union in the Big 12, a continued tradition of success that Clark said is due to high standards at K-State.
“It speaks to the strength of our BSU that they do some outstanding programming, and they do it year after year,” Clark said. “There’s no bias either, because the award is decided by fellow peers at other Big 12 institutions. K-State’s BSU is very strong, and continues to serve as a strong example of black student government in the Big 12.”
“From November of 2015 to November of 2016, our delegates report on all the activities our BSU has done,” Clark said. “That includes our Black History Month activities, our academic initiatives, the banquets, the Kwanzaa celebration, any speakers who come in and professional development. All of that goes into this book and the presentation they give.”
Clark said the consistent success is also due to the effort that the BSU puts into its presentation.
“The award is based on quite a few things but primarily based on what our Big 12 delegates give to the council,” Clark said. “They put on an outstanding presentation on all of the work that our BSU does over the past year. They really articulate what we do well. Our BSU really understands our mission and knows what our BSU is supposed to be doing, and we stick to that mission.”
Bryan Davis, president of the BSU and junior in information management systems, said K-State BSU’s success is due to the people within the organization.
“I think we’ve been so successful because we have great student leaders and great advisers,” Davis said. “We have a strong will to impact our community and move K-State forward. That is what gets recognized.”
At the convention, the K-State delegation attended workshops and discussions on issues that black student organizations across the Big 12 face.
“Some of the issues can cross a variety of topics,” Clark said. “Some are more serious, such as not having enough black students participating in student government, or how to get more blacks on campus to apply for graduate school. The educational component is there, but we also talk about things like dating strategies and greek life or how to become a more well-rounded student.”
The delegates then apply what they learned at the conference to their campus involvements, Clark said.
“They take that information and bring it back to their campuses for students that maybe weren’t able to go to the conference,” Clark said. “They talk about those strategies they learned, and they can then empower their fellow students.”
Cushshon said she learned how to look at job and internship opportunities at the conference.
“I realized when looking at internships and jobs to evaluate companies’ diversity programs and retention rate, among other things as well,” Cushshon said. “I can get people aware of how to evaluate companies when looking at internships, which is really key to provide a successful internship.”
Davis said the conference reinforced his commitment to the BSU mission.
“Something I took away personally was the need to be strong in your mission,” Davis said. “All we do should support what our BSU mission is. The Black Student Union focuses on creating leaders, and we try to reiterate the importance of being involved at a community level and what that entails. Sometimes you may feel alone, but as a member of BSU, it’s your duty to go out and move your community.”