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USU's Black Student Union creates a safe space for students

Six members of BSU's council pose for a photo outside in the sunlight. The background is full of lush greenery.
USU's Black Student Union
Members of BSU's council pose for a photo

In addition to academic support, Utah State University’s Black Student Union was founded in 1969 as place to gather and to promote the equal rights of black students as well as other minority students.

Ta’Mariah Jenkins, secretary of Utah State University's Black Student Union, is a senior at USU studying political science. She discovered the Black Student Union in 2021 when talking to some students at an event. She soon joined the club and has been a part of it ever since.

According to Jenkins, the Black Student Union is a group of students who want to share black culture and diversity with the rest of campus. It also gives students a place to come together with other students who have shared experiences with them.

“As a black student here at a predominantly white institution,” Jenkins said, “it's hard to find a sense of belonging, and to find people who look like me and understand my experiences. And so, being a part of the Black Student Union, it's kind of been a part of my legacy here to create that sense of belonging and to promote my club and show why it's so important.”

The organization holds a variety of events throughout the school year including socials, barbecues and Black History Month events. They also hold an annual Soul Food event.

Aside from Jenkins, there are five other members of the council. Jasmine Kemp is the president, the vice president is Hallie Magnuson, Alexis Brown is the treasurer, Jaliyah Suggs is over social media and outreach and Sammy Kiguthi is their athletics delegate.

The club makes all their events and socials open to everyone with the goal of creating a safe space for all students.

“I've been able to create a family there,” Jenkins said. “And not in that corny, you know, they're my family like genuine people, we argue sometimes we have conflicts, but that doesn't stop us from being able to produce good events and to try to represent our school.”

When asked about House Bill 261, Equal Opportunities Initiatives, Jenkins said they are keeping an open mind about the bill and how it could affect the Black Student Union.

“There are definitely concerns raised about the bill and feelings that aren't fully in favor of it. But this is new, and we're just trying to see the reasoning as to why it's happening and how it's going to affect us,” Jenkins said.

Caitlin Keith is a general news reporter at UPR. She is from Lindon, Utah and is currently an undergrad student studying print journalism at USU. Caitlin loves to write and tell people’s stories. She is also a writer at the Utah Statesman. She loves to read, ski, play the cello and watch various TV shows.