Black Student Union returns with “BSU Block Party”

BSU President hopes to bring in new members with party


Photo by Allison Hritz

Deanna Ashford will perform at the Black Student Union’s Block Party Sept. 9.

Written By Matt Petras, Co-Features Editor

Aniya Thomas, a senior acting major with a minor in broadcasting, was a member of the Black Student Union (BSU) when she was a freshman and then worked up the ranks to treasurer, then vice president, and now president.

“I have a big passion for communities and for growing a community that may not be as strong as others,” Thomas said in a phone interview Saturday. “I always like to see what kind of input, or what kind of positive impact I can make in things like that.”

Now under her leadership, BSU is welcoming new members with the BSU Block Party event from 3-7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 9 in Village Park, complete with student performances, food, raffle prizes and more.

The club has been around for decades (though sometimes named differently), according to Christian Moore, a spring, 2016 business management graduate and 2015-16 school year BSU president in a phone interview Sunday. BSU fosters both activism and community engagement.

“As minorities, we’re always pushing to rise,” Thomas said. “[BSU is] always pushing to stand stronger and to have a stronger community, and to receive the rights that we deserve within our school and even within the world.”

Thomas plans to move the club away from weekly meetings and to instead do one meeting a month in addition to one or two (probably two) events each month, “just as we’re trying to gauge the participation and passion and involvement of our community,” she said.

The first event on deck is the BSU Block Party.

“I want everyone to come out and see that we have open doors and to see that we are here,” Thomas said. She also said she wants people to become more informed about the club and future events.

There will be several students performing at the event, collectively giving the audience tastes of monologues, singing, rapping, dancing and more. One student set to perform is Deanna Ashford, a freshman psychology student. 

The BSU Facebook page advertised that those who wanted to perform could call or text Thomas, and Ashford decided to do so. She is going to be singing “For Once in My Life” by Stevie Wonder.

“Hopefully I can rock it out, because that’s a very passionate song,” Ashford said with some laughing.

Despite saying “some of our involvement fell down last year,” Thomas explained that she feels the club has good days ahead of it.

“I think that this is definitely going to be a new year,” Thomas said. “Already, we have so many people who have asked how to be involved, how to join before even coming to the general meeting.”

Moore has graduated, but he’s still leaving his mark on the club. “I’ve been more behind the scenes since I graduated,” he said. He plans to attend the block party, and he has kind words for Thomas.

“I think she’s going to do an amazing job as president,” he said.

Even Ashford, who is still learning about the club, is confident it’s going to offer something worthwhile for students.

“They haven’t really started anything yet, but when they do, it’s going to be really really cool,” Ashford said.