The Black Student Union seeks members

Artwork provided by Black Student Union

Artwork provided by Black Student Union

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By Chelsea L. McDowell


CSU Bakersfield students Kimberly Seward and her younger sister Ebonie Seward want to continue to give minority students a home away from home through the campus Black Student Union.

The BSU was previously the African American Student Union and is not to be confused for the African Student Association—or the ASA.

Senior Child Adolescent Family Studies major Kimberly Seward has been the acting Vice President of the BSU since the fall 2017 semester. She is also in charge of the club’s social media.

“If you walk around and ask students, ‘you guys know about BSU?’” Kimberly Seward said. “‘Oh, we have a BSU?’ is their answer.”

The BSU currently has 45 members, however not all of them are active.

While the club may focus on the issues of the Black population on campus, it is open to any CSUB student who wants to learn more about its culture and participate in its events.

Paloma Rosales is a senior art and public relations major who had seen how lively the BSU was at the Club Fair, but has little to no knowledge about the club’s work.

“If I knew more about the activities that they do on campus, or how they involve themselves in the campus culture I would [join],” said Rosales.

Kimberly Seward’s sister Ebonie Seward is a senior business administration major and the fundraising chair for the BSU since fall 2017. When Ebonie Seward transferred from CSU Fullerton, she didn’t know CSUB had a BSU because it wasn’t present on campus. The Seward sisters have been trying to change that.

“The Black Student Union is trying to put on events and things,” Ebonie Seward said. “We’re just trying to be seen more, be heard more on campus so people actually know that the club exists.”

Feb.  12 marked the first annual BSU Self Love Day, where members gave out durags and bonnets—staples in black culture—in exchange for pledges from students to love themselves and fight discrimination. The BSU had also arranged a discounted ticket sell for the premiere of Marvel’s Black Panther, which left the outside community upset over the lack of theatre seats.

Senior Computer Information Systems major Jordan Parks has been an inactive member of the BSU since fall 2016. Parks had previously participated in club activities such as the Barbeque fundraiser—that allowed the BSU to provide members with shirts—but has not been an active member of the club in 2018 “as much as last school year, just because [he’s] been real busy this year.”

The club hit a snag when they organized a toy drive for the Black Chamber of Commerce, which failed to receive enough toy donations from students and faculty.

“It’s kind of hard to try to give back when there’s so little of us, so that’s why we’re trying to build and trying to grow,” said Kimberly Seward. “Our toy drive was a good idea, but there was not that many people actually trying to donate.”

Kimberly Seward said that she hopes with the addition of new members the toy drive does better next year and the bulk of the work doesn’t fall on her and her sister.

Ebonie and Kimberly Seward hope that incoming freshman will be able to provide a better perspective. But before that, they need to make the club more visible to students.

“Black students are a very small population on this campus so it’s very easy to feel like you don’t belong or there’s not a lot of people here that look like you, so when you do have a community that you can go to, and that they can share your experiences and culture and interest and things it kind of makes you feel more comfortable here on campus,” Ebonie Seward said.

BSU club meetings are held in the Multicultural Center on Fridays at noon. Fundraising ideas are typically the topic of each club meeting.

Students can find information about the BSU and its upcoming events on instagram at CSUB_BSU_.