Removing the Stigma
Emmitt Williams
ewil756@uwsp.edu
The Black Student Union is having their 3rd Annual BSU Weekend starting this Friday April 20, 2012, until Saturday April 21, 2012. After speaking with some students on campus, it is evident that some people are in great anticipation for the weekend of events, while others have never even heard of BSU weekend. In addition, the acronym BSU seems not to be one they are familiar with either.
‘’Just haven’t heard of it," said sophomore communication major Ian McKay.
 
This seemed to be a very common response.
 
"If I don’t know I can’t go," said sophomore business and pre-med major Paul Lincoln.
 
While inquiring why this may be the case, it felt like more awareness could possibly help remove the stigma. Seiquest Williams, majoring in sociology and current president of BSU hopes that not only will people come out and support but potentially discover something they may find worthwhile.
 
"I want them to walk away being able to find something in that interaction ... that connection personally … either at the dance, gospel fest, or with the speakers that come," Williams said.
 
This "something" that Williams talks about is very open-ended and can mean many different things. This something could be a new passion for diversity, being more knowledgeable about the African-American heritage or a way to meet new people and create that connection she speaks about.
 
"It’s an opportunity to bring cultural awareness to Stevens Point to bond and find common ground," Williams said.
 
In relation to removing any stigma that may exist, it is essential that students and staff are aware that BSU Weekend is not only for people of African-American descent but also for those who want to celebrate the culture as well. BSU Weekend is a call to celebration. It is multi-faceted and allows people to be involved in more ways than one.
 
"It reaches out to the people in dance, art and even has a spiritual essence due to gospel fest," said sophomore Spanish major Maira Avila.
 
Some students also see it as a chance to educate those about the African-American heritage. Nigel Golden, a sophomore double majoring in Biology and Wildlife Ecology (and president of BSU for the 2012- 2013 school year) shares why BSU weekend is important to him and what it does for the campus as a whole.
 
"BSU Weekend is important to me because not only are we the only African-American group on this campus, but also we’re the only African-American group in this community," Golden said.
 
Golden holds a dear belief about how BSU must be willing to educate and promote the African-American culture because the media is not always accurate.
 
"Obviously we have to take the initiative because media is the only form of information in this area about African-Americans … and we all know how the media is … they depict stereotypes," Golden said.
 
After talking to people like Williams, Avila and Golden, it is apparent that BSU as a whole is on a mission to remove the stigma and reach out to students like McKay and Lincoln that may be unaware. Truth is, a lot of people are unaware of not only the events that BSU holds but also who they are as an organization. Like any other student organization on campus, they seek to enrich the campus experience. For any student organization this mission is normally accomplished through support. Skin color is irrelevant and BSU Weekend is for anyone who wants to come out and support and have fun while doing just that.
 
The weekend starts Friday night with "A Bash from the Past ‘90s Party" in the Alumni Room in the Dreyfus University Center at 8-11:30 p.m. and ending with a gospel fest Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the DUC Theatre.