The club formerly known as Essence of Ebony now is named Black Students Association; the name change came with new leadership within the club, principally by new president Jeanetta Norris.
BSA offers African-American students fellowship, support and activities, its membership includes students with a variety of races and ethnicities. BSA is instrumental in the Black History Production, participates in regular service opportunities and organizes student activities like coffee houses and skate nights.
The groups officers began discussing a name change not long after their election. Two of the most pressing issues that the club faced was low membership last year and a concern about whether the name Essence of Ebony was seen as professional or credible. Similar organizations at other universities are called Black Students Association or Black Student Union.
“Black Students Association represents the most common name for multicultural student organizations with a focus on black culture,” said Russ Kirby, director of multicultural enrichment and support and BSA adviser.
Kirby said another reason for the change was that club leaders thought ACU was “out of step” and that changing the name would line the group up with common, institutional best practices. ACU was the only school with an Essence of Ebony club, and 14 out of the university’ 16 main peer institutes have Black Student Organizations.
“The reactions have been very positive,” Kirby said. “Students are much less confused about the organization, and students are excited about the future of BSA.”
For now, the club plans no other major changes and continues to conduct regular Chapels and meetings.