Students searching for a space that centers around inclusivity and community interaction might find their niche with the Black Student Association (BSA), an organization at Pittsburg State University that holds several events for students while aiming to encourage positive experiences and general campus awareness about issues impacting the Black community.
The Office of Student Diversity serves as the organization’s home, and BSA is lead by Tiara Hill, senior in psychology and BSA’s current president. BSA hosts a wide variety of events each year, many of which are posted on Gorilla Engage.
“Black Student Association is a place where the minorities of the campus are gathered together to try to make a difference and talk about what it’s like attending a PWI (predominately white institution),” Hill said. “Our goal is to find similarity within one another and within the campus. Even if we’re different, we gather to build friendships and family. It’s kind of a home away from home. Sometimes it is hard to find (community) when you’re different. Sometimes within a PWI you feel out of place when you don’t find someone that’s like yourself. BSA tries to provide that family-friendly atmosphere so that all students feel loved and have that kinship.”
BSA’s core mission of community leads the organization to host a wide variety of events throughout school year, including social events like Oct. 2021’s “Haunted Hangout” and educational events like the black history-themed art gallery open house BSA hosted as a collaboration with the history club in March of 2021. The open house collaboration would lead BSA to win the Collaboration of the Year award from PSU’s Student Government Association.
“We’ve hosted a lot of hangouts, like the ‘Haunted Hangout’ and the tailgate,” Hill said. “We’ve done a lot of information tables where people can get to know a lot of the faces (from black history), what they stood for since history books have kind of changed the history. We ourselves go back and research to get those hard truths out.”
Regarding the upcoming spring semester, BSA has already planned a sequence of programming centered around February, the nationally recognized black history month. The proposed events include the sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Ball on Feb. 5, a poetry slam at Root Coffeehouse on Feb. 10, and a make and take/take and make art event on Feb. 24.
“This upcoming semester, February is Black History Month, and we are planning on doing a station of ‘Black Love’ painting, we are doing a poetry slam, we are doing another information table about LGBTQ black history figures,” Hill said. “We’re also doing history figures of today. We don’t know if we are doing ‘Big 12,’ but if we aren’t doing Big 12 then we will be adding another event.”
Any students interested in learning more about the Black Student Association can find information by either visiting the Office of Student diversity or browsing the organization’s Gorilla Engage page, where BSA posts events as well as general organization information.