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Students dance to music at the MLK Jr. Ball in the Overman Student Center Ballroom on Feb. 25. The event was hosted by BSA and allowed for members of the community, faculty, and students to connect with the organization. Dominic Santiago

MLK Jr. ball held in the OSC

Students dance to music at the MLK Jr. Ball in the Overman Student Center Ballroom on Feb. 25. The event was hosted by BSA and allowed for members of the community, faculty, and students to connect with the organization. Dominic Santiago

The Martin Luther King Jr. ball, hosted by the Black Student Association, was held inside of the Overman Student Center on Feb. 25. The event featured a DJ, free food, and a photo booth for attendees to enjoy.

The MLK Jr. ball was created six years ago by BSA to give students and members of the community the opportunity to learn about the organization.

“This event is essentially to promote diversity and get to know each other and mingle and socialize and celebrate Black History Month and black history,” said Maria Thompson, advisor for the Black Student Association and assistant director of student diversity programs.

The event was originally planned for Feb. 5, but was postponed because of a winter storm. Thompson talked more about why it was canceled and how the decision was made.

“We wanted to make sure it was safe for everyone, so we actually kept debating back and forth. On that Friday, the campus was closed, and we decided it would be too dangerous.” Thompson said.

Similar to that week, the Martin Luther King Jr. Ball occurred on a day that bad weather was set to fall on Pittsburg.

“This week we were supposed to get more weather, but luckily we were able to continue to have (the event). We did have to reduce our space into one ballroom to accommodate the change in date.” Thompson said.

The event drew a smaller crowd than previous years, but the participants that did come were able to enjoy the atmosphere in a smaller room than previous MLK Jr. balls.

“We basically condensed down because of the fact that we were helping out the Overman Student Center. They have a lot of events that they need to turn for and so they had requested to change our size. We still planned to have about 60 to 70 people, and that’s typically what it’s been in the past, but just condensing down into one ballroom versus two.” Thompson said.

The small space potentially benefited the mood of the event. Thompson believes that the smaller spaces brought people together more than in other years.

“Not being as spread out as much let us make a bit more intimate setting and let us be more cooperative with each other and be more collaborative.” Thompson said.

The Black Student Association also helps other organizations under the umbrella of student diversity. In the month of March, Women’s History Month, the group plans to help other organizations with their events.

“So, Women’s History Month is coming up in the month of March. We partnered with the library, so we’ll be doing a display over there from History Month, and the Altruistic Alliance of University Women (AAUW) will be doing some events.” Thompson said.

The MLK Jr. Ball was open to students, faculty, and members of the community. The event was open to anyone to help promote BSA and its mission of inclusion.

“We have a lot of community support in our office and for our organizations as well, so we just wanted to make sure to recognize and to welcome them on campus to celebrate with us.” Thompson said.

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