Black Student Union Working to Educate Others
Before she even arrived on the Midland University campus, Serenity Durham Goree knew the Black Student Union was a group she wanted to be engaged with.
Three years later, Durham Goree not only remains actively involved with the group, she serves as its president. “Before my freshman year at Midland, I was friends with a senior at Midland who was a part of the BSU and they recommended me to join,” she said. “I enjoyed the first meeting and wanted to find ways I could start contributing to the group.”
A junior from Las Vegas, Nevada, Durham Goree became president of the group midway through her sophomore year. In her role, she helps organize meetings, works with administration, and has overseen a growth in the group’s social media presence.
The Black Student Union has been on the Midland campus for about five years. Durham Goree said there are about 25 active individuals in the group, a number she would like to see grow. “I know there are more black students on campus, and our goal is to get them to join and bring us all together,” she said. “There are lots of people who reach out to me about how we need change, and they want to be a part of that change, but they won’t show up at meetings. We need them to take that first step and bring along their ideas because that’s how we get things done.”
Durham Goree said she wants students across campus, regardless of race or background, to understand they are welcome to attend BSU meetings and events. “We want to emphasize this is an all-inclusive group,” she said. “One of our council members is white and my best friend, who is white, comes to our meetings. Our goal is to not just bring all black students together, but educate those who aren’t black.”
Henry Krusiewicz, Professor of English, serves as the group’s faculty advisor. He believes the best way for students across campus to have a greater understanding of what BSU and its students represent, is to get involved. “One of my goals when I joined as faculty advisor was to promote more contact between the groups on campus. We have so many great organizations across campus, but a lot of times they just meet among themselves. I think there are caucasian students across campus who might feel like they aren’t welcome in BSU, and that’s not the case. If you want to have meaningful conversations, you have to have discussions with each other, not just amongst yourselves.”
Along with their regular meetings, the BSU will also have several events throughout each month, ranging from study nights to movie nights or other activities. Durham Goree said the meetings are a great opportunity for students to talk about their feelings and challenges they may face. “What I love about our meetings is the great conversations that take place,” she said. “They are very open and a great educational opportunity. We love it when Henry, or other administrators, come to our meetings because they bring great knowledge and topics for us to debate.”
With Black History Month this February, Durham Goree said the group will have several special events planned to honor great African-American historical figures, as well as continue to educate each other. She hopes to see that education extend beyond the Midland campus. “Our goal is to get into high schools and talk to students about the importance of education and going to college,” she said. “We want to be a part of something bigger than just Midland, and help more than just college students. We want to try and educate everyone.”