UNI's Black Student Union unites campus and community

The University of Northern Iowa's Black Student Union (BSU) has been busy lately. They, along with other areas of campus, have been planning more than 20 events to celebrate Black History Month during February.

Black Student Union
UNI's Black Student Union hosted a date auction during the
fall 2011 semester. They have a number of events planned
to celebrate Black History Month in February.

"This month is not just hosted by BSU, but brought to you in part by more than 20 areas of campus, from deans to departments heads, campus offices, students organizations and the list goes on," said Darvel Givens, BSU co-president and senior majoring in management: business administration. "We are striving to make this month as inclusive as possible."

The BSU was established to advance African-American culture on UNI's campus through programming, educating and representing African-American people. Some of their goals include increasing African-American involvement on campus, creating tradition and setting the precedence of success for African-Americans at UNI.

"Being a member of the UNI Black Student Union means being a part of a movement," said Givens. "You are a part of a movement that promotes this rich culture. Being a member of this organization means you will not fall into the statistics people have set for African-Americans, but you will continue to carry the legacy of the other great black men and women before us to continue to reiterate that we are not a statistic, but a success."

Givens and the rest of the BSU have been planning Black History Month events since October. They strive to keep programming rolling throughout the year. The BSU is no stranger when it comes to planning successful events. During the fall 2011 semester, they held a date auction that raised more than $600 that went towards breast cancer awareness. The group also hosted an open mic night with more than 20 participants and a lock-in with discussions on leadership and team building.

"I want Black History Month to be remembered as not a month where black people just celebrate black people, but a month to enlighten, educate and entertain the entire campus community on the various areas of African-American culture," said Givens. "Planning for this month has been a long road, but it has all been worth it."

Black History Month events are open to the UNI campus and Cedar Valley community. 

Here's a look at what's planned for Black History Month:
  • Saturday, Feb. 4, Disco Skate – Enjoy a night of skating at UNI's Wellness & Recreation Center and learn history of the disco era while skating to disco music.
  • Wednesday, Feb. 8, Interracial Dating Roundtable Discussion – Hosted by UNI's Center for Multicultural Education
  • Saturday, Feb. 11, Steppers Ball
  • Monday, Feb. 13, "1001 Inventions," – A play about where America would be without African-American inventions.
  • Thursday, Feb. 16, Fashion Show – Enjoy a night of fashion straight from New York City. Fashion designer and Waterloo native Nicole Lyricc and Que, from MTV's "Making the Band," will make special appearances.
  • Tuesday, Feb. 21, Tunnel of Oppression – The UNI community is invited to experience various scenes of oppression.
For a complete list of Black History Month events and activities, visit UNI's Black Student Union website. Be sure to visit the This is UNI photo gallery throughout February for Black History Month event photos.