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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Student Center Profile: Black Student Center

“We want people to know that once you’re up in the Black Student Center (BSC) it’s all about family no matter what race you are, no matter what color you are,” stated Steve Osemwenkhae, BSC coordinator.

Amidst all the shifting and confusion around UMB with the arrival of the new Campus Center, the Black Student Center serves as a home away from home for many of UMB’s student body.

Furnished with comfortable chairs and couches, fliers and posters, the BSC is one of many centers that offer a resting ground for UMass students to meet and share with interested and likeminded peers.

“We want people to know we’re here, and that we’re on the third floor of the Campus Center,” said Kerlyne Cotard, another BSC coordinator. “We brought three students up here just today,” continued Cotard, “and they were surprised and relieved to find out about our existence.”

The mission of the BSC is to “provide a central place for students of African decent and other ethnic groups, to develop academically and socially by promoting a positive self-image…We provide this through programming of various events and activities.”

Though their mission’s main objective is to bring forth solidarity for students of African decsent, the BSC also actively promotes diversity within the center. “We take people of all backgrounds,” told Hermelyn Latouche, a third BSC coordinator. Members backgrounds range from Greek to Hispanic as well. “You can be pale as a ghost and can be a part of BSC,” remarked Cotard. “Your opinion matters just as much as everybody else’s.”

Coordinators of the BSC consider the space to be a resource for the entire student body by maintaining and nurturing multiculturalism and making students aware of the diversity around them. The BSC is considered to be the “umbrella” for all other student clubs where students are of African decent, such as the Haitian-American Society, and the African Hut Club.

“Students are generally interested in what we have to say about matters,” according to Osemwenkhae. To facilitate the voices, the BSC regularly plans discussions and forums on race, poverty, and gang violence according to coordinators.

This year, the BSC plans to strengthen their bonds with the outside community. “We plan on doing more community outreach because we don’t want to just focus internally, we want students to know that there is a whole community behind them outside of UMass,” stated Latouche.

This semester’s main event will be the celebration of Kwanzaa. “Our plan is to inform students on what Kwanzaa is and what the history of it is. By going to this event, you will walk out of it having a good understanding of what the seven principles are,” informed Cotard. Next semester, events will center around Black History Month. The coordinators refrained from revealing too much about both events and stated that they wanted an element of surprise for the UMB student body. UMB students should start looking out for the upcoming BSC Kwanzaa celebration as the holiday season draws closer.

The BSC is located on the third floor of the Campus Center building in the Student Life area. Coordinators can be contacted at 617-287-7982.