The Formation of a Black Student Union at CSU

A Personal Reflection: How the Black Student Union was Conceptualized and its Purpose


Vinh Huynh

Kennedy Buckner- Founder of the BSU

     The Black Student Union is a new club on CSU’s campus that seeks to create a safe space for Black students to develop a deeper sense of self through community and fellowship. Through meetings and events centered around Black history and culture, the BSU’s goal is to educate its members on the complexity of the Black experience in hopes of inspiring agency, autonomy, and liberation. 


     While the concept of a Black Student Union is not new, nor is this the first BSU to exist at CSU, this one differs from the typical BSU as its main focus is not politics. 


     Many Black students on campus have expressed the desire for a community where they can be amongst other Black students whom they share similar interests, can talk about social issues with, and celebrate their identities together. 


     “The BSU will allow us to be able to talk about police brutality and campus safety for students of color, especially while attending a PWI. The club will also allow us to come together with students who look like us and celebrate,” stated Mikiah Heard, a sophomore psychology major, when asked about the significance of the Black Student Union on campus. 


     I wanted to form a club where I could highlight Black joy, freedom, and autonomy through sharing Black stories. My love for Black history was first ignited through my father, who would often tell me and my sister stories of Black people, both well-known and in obscurity, who, in their own ways, stood firm in their Blackness. 


     I remember the walls of my house being filled with Black art. There were portraits of Malcolm X and Nelson Mandela as well as paintings, such as “Funeral Procession” by Ellis Wilson and “Baptism by Hulis Mavruk. 


     There were also pictures of me and my family sprinkled throughout the house as well and seeing all those different images solidified the idea that there are indeed many shades of Blackness and that there is not one way to be Black. 


     An Instagram post was posted to advertise the club and sparked interest among CSU students. The club’s constitution was then drafted to outline the club’s purpose and objectives and a plan to carry them out. After the club garnered enough attention and interested students, an executive board was formed, and the club was made official. 


     The board members met during the first week of August and discussed how to center Black joy, freedom, and agency in all that the club will do. We discussed ways to create an inclusive community to foster a safe space for Black students to fellowship with each other and to have monthly meetings modeled after open forums to encourage dialogue amongst members. 


     The executive board members also discussed different events and special days for members to attend and participate in, such as Black Style Evolution Day, The BSU Book Club discussions, and a trip to downtown Columbus to tour the Black historical sites. 


     The goal is to show that Blackness is not a monolith and that there are many dimensions to the Black experiences. 


      According to sophomore biology major Caelan Newton, the BSU will allow students to “easily access Black achievement, whether it’s historical or modern, as well as create networking opportunities for our members.” 


     You can connect with the Black Student Union on Instagram @blackstudentunioncsu, where you can find resources, such as the digital library, links to playlists, reminders for monthly meetings, and information about upcoming events.