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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

3-4-24 PDF
March 4, 2024
2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

What is The Black Student Center?

At the University of Massachusetts Boston, there is a plethora of different activities that any student can be involved in and, with the addition of the residence halls, the number of possible activities is only increasing. However, even before the residence halls, there has been an area on campus where students have felt at home for years now and it resides on the third floor of the Campus Center. There, student organizations thrive. Around peak hours, a first-time visitor might see a colorful energy burst forth from the cubicle-lined floors of the student spaces in the form of laughter, playful yelling, and spasmodic movement.
“If you don’t know about the third floor, you’ll pretty much go to class and go home,” said Emeka Igbokwe, UMass Boston senior. There’s the Student Arts and Events Council (SAEC), Student Veterans Center, Xi Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Cheer Club, Undergraduate Student Government, Casa Latina, Queer Student Center, Khmer Culture Association, Young Christians’ Association, College Democrats and Republicans, Women’s Center, Asian Student Center, Desi Student Association, and Hoy! Pinoy!, along with too many others to name.
However, there is one club in particular that draws a good deal of attention in the student spaces: the Black Student Center (BSC). The BSC has been around for years providing a welcoming environment to students of color. President Stephanie Beauvil, along with other club members, spoke on the current dynamic of the club and its ambitions moving forward.
Conversations with club members consisted of a great deal of praise for the club’s ability to establish a strong community environment amongst students of all different ethnic backgrounds, as well as provide diverse opinions amongst club attendees. There were also a few mentions of improvement in social skills. “The BSC helped me speak to others more and invite more people into my life as well as structure my life better,” one member stated. Over the years the BSC has been more than a recreational haven for students. Sophomore Diana Blell, who leads the student mentorship program, stated, “The BSC has become a second family to me. There was a point where I would hang here more than my own crib.”
Among the positive comments, there were also hopes for additions to the center: more seating, snack baskets, and more structure outside of meetings. The recurring sentiment from the BSC’s seniority is the dissatisfaction with the amount of space that BSC has been reduced to over the years. Beauvil stated, “We did have the biggest space back in 2011 before they integrated the student government.” She went on, “We have so many kids and we are one of the biggest centers on campus, so it’s hard to fit everyone into this designated box.”
The BSC has a history of being relocated frequently throughout the student spaces. Center leadership members are noticing an unfavorable pattern, “It almost feels like they are trying to push us out.” Gesturing toward a portion of the student spaces, Igbokwe stated: “BSC was over here, all of this was BSC, and it was, like, taken from us. But what can you do, you know?” Beauvil added, “I think that it would be better if we had our own space that wasn’t considered office space, just to give people places to sit and do work, just a place to actually feel like it’s your own.”
Beauvil stated that one of her end goals for the BSC is to create a scholarship fund for involved and active students of color. It would be divided into one academic and one entrepreneurial scholarship, with the intent to help the students execute their dreams and aspirations. When asked about what part of the BSC she wanted to shine a light on, Beauvil replied: “Honestly I want them to pay attention to all aspects of BSC. I don’t feel like people pay attention to the BSC as they are stuck on the fact that they see us as a bunch of black kids on campus and they aren’t really paying attention to what we are doing on campus. We have scholars, we have athletes, we have entrepreneurs. My goal is just to let them know that we are here and I feel like they don’t know that we are here.”
As it stands now, the BSC is one of the biggest student groups on campus with potential members trickling into the space by the day. UMass Boston junior, Kenneth Jean-Baptiste, said, “It’s only gonna get bigger.”  The first official dates for the BSC meetings were slated for Sept. 19 for returning students and Sept. 20 for newcomers. The first meetings were focused around the question, “What is it like to be black in society?” as well as financial literacy classes, tutoring, and a student-led mentorship program. Among the potential BSC-hosted recreational events, there will be a lip sync battle, a rendition of Wild ‘n Out, and a glow-in-the-dark party. Beauvil has made it a point to communicate that *all* are welcome to attend and enjoy these events.