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Saturday, June 15
The Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices

Black Voices: Black Student Union focuses on the best interest of Black students on campus

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The Black Student Union is a safe haven for Black students trying to find more opportunities to get involved at IU. It can be hard to find Black faces and make connections on campus and BSU helps bridge this gap by getting students more involved.

BSU President and IU senior, Ariyonna Cousins, and political action chair and IU junior, Tateana Cutter, talked about the important work BSU does to look out for the best interest of Black students on campus every year. 

This year, Cousins focused on improving the mental health of all Black students on campus, no matter their situation. She has given Black students on campus a space to be comfortable in their skin and gain fellowship. Cousins talked about these initiatives in an interview with the Indiana Daily Student last semester.

“Our main initiative is focusing on mental health in the Black community,” Cousins said in the interview. “For students returning to campus after being in their rooms, first-generation students, and just being a Black student who saw the Black Lives Matter protest happening in the summer, we want to focus on fellowship.”

In the last week, BSU hosted events on campus to bring those plans to fruition. The events included a Black history three-course dinner for invited members of BSU where the history of the dish was given in each course. There was also a trap and paint event where students were able to paint and listen to trap music. 

Cousins said the turnout for BSU events has been higher this year than before. 

The first year back to mostly in-person classes after a shaky year due to the pandemic could be a possible reason for students wanting to get more active on campus.

Cousins has been a part of BSU since her freshman year at IU and has seen it progress over time. She hopes BSU continues to create programs and events to bring Black students on campus together after she graduates this semester. One role she wants to be created in BSU permanently is a health and wellness chair to make the work done with mental health available all the time.

Cousins said BSU has allowed her to become more of an effective leader and bring her out of her shell.

Tateana Cutter knows about the opportunities BSU provides. She comes from a small mostly white town in Indiana and knew once she came to IU she wanted to be active in the Black community. She liked a lot of the positive things she saw BSU doing her freshman year and decided to join.

“I’m incredibly passionate about aiding Black women and members of the  LGBTQ community,” Cutter said.

Now as the political action chair, Cutter informs the BSU board and members on political initiatives and problems on campus, the city of Bloomington and in the state. She also works to promote political activism and engagement for the Black community on campus.

In her senior year, Cutter wants to actively facilitate and bring more awareness to women and LGBTQ growth within BSU. 

“Next year I would love to facilitate more events focused on how the organization can better advocate and provide resources for Black women and LGBTQ students,” she said.

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