The Black Students Association will host a Black Student Orientation from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
An email from the Office of Multicultural Affairs said, “The goals of the Black Student Orientation are to facilitate a smooth transition into college life, acclimate students to on and off-campus resources, address the specific needs and particular needs of African/African American students at ACU, and build community with Black students, faculty, staff, and other black organizations on campus.”
BSA president Summer Thompson, who serves as state president of the Texas National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s Youth and College Division, said other NAACP chapters at predominantly white institutions, such as Baylor University, also host orientations for black students. As part of BSA’s mission to facilitate growth for black students, Thompson said she and other officers thought the orientation was needed.
“The years that I’ve been here, the growth and success of black students has been very stagnant,” said Thompson, junior communications major from Missouri City. “When you’re bringing minority students here, what are you offering them? What else are you doing? When it comes to foster the growth of black students on campus, it becomes a BSA issue.”
All black faculty and staff were invited to speak at the event, Thompson said. Others who will speak include Chris Riley, vice president for student life, and Shannon Kaczmarek, director of student advocacy programs, Alpha Scholars and Residence Life. Thompson said each of these people will describe resources available to black students. The Residence Life segment of the orientation will include a discussion on how to handle issues like the blackface incident that took place last year, in which a student posted video of herself wearing a mud mask to SnapChat. Thompson said the blackface incident did not prompt the orientation, but it will be discussed as part of the agenda.
The orientation is also directed toward African students, Thompson said, because BSA works with the African Students’ Association and African students can have similar experiences to African-American students.
“I think BSO will be beneficial to African students,” Thompson said. “They’re coming from a background where the majority is black to a place where the majority is white.”
Orientation for other minority groups, like Hispanic or Asian students, would need to be facilitated by Hispanos Unidos or the International Students’ Association, Thompson said.
“That’s what their mission statement challenges them to do,” Thompson said. “For BSA, our primary goal is to foster the growth of black students on campus.”
OMA oversees five student organizations: African Students Association (ASA), Black Students Association (BSA), Chinese Students and Scholars’ Association (CSSA), Hispanos Unidos (HU), and Third Culture Kids.
Presidents from each organization will begin meeting together as a council monthly to unite the subgroups in OMA as a whole. Thompson said the new council will be “a force to be reckoned with.”
“I foresee this group of individuals using their internal and external lenses to challenge and provide fresh ideas … as it relates to the advancement of minority students on campus,” she said.
OMA’s new council will meet with the Students’ Association once a month to work on plans and events. Upcoming events will include BSO in addition to OMA’s Sundaes on Mondaes event. OMA will be participating in Cultural Awareness Week on campus at the end of October.
“Last year was a good pace and schedule,” said OMA Director Prentice Ashford, “this year we’d like to increase campus awareness and see a lot more engagement.”