Kaitlyn Hughes | Staff Writer
Sept. 29, 2022
Members of Duquesne University’s Black Student Union (BSU) came together on Mellon Lawn and Patio to attend Sunday evening’s BBQ on the Bluff. Students gathered together to eat food, converse with other members, listen to music and play games.
The Black Student Union (BSU) is an organization dedicated to creating a safe environment for members of the Black community. They seek to gather together and meet new people at events, or discuss important subjects such as ethnic awareness.
Upon arrival, members were greeted with loud upbeat music as they walked toward members serving mac and cheese and pulled pork.
After they received their favorite barbeque dishes, they were then able to take part in games like Uno and cornhole.
BSU President Lindsey Harris said that this was an annual event that they try to put on before the weather interferes with outdoor activities.
“We usually like to bring the Black community together on campus and have that engagement, so they know that there is a place for them,” Harris said. “We like to have these events to show support to each other.”
BSU Vice President Antonia Allen said that the event was a great way to meet new people.
“People make new friends through our events,” Allen said. “On a given day, they probably won’t see each other, but when they attend events they are like, ‘Oh, there is a nice Black population on Duquesne’s campus,’ so it’s nice to see someone that looks like you and have a conversation and get to know those people and make friendships.”
Harris said that their events typically attract 30 to 40 people.
Members of the organization are of all different ages, majors and backgrounds. Most members have multiple extracurricular activities, but still manage to attend the event and “pop-in” due to the joy it brings them.
“Everyone loves to come to events,” Allen said.
The club originally started back in 2012, but it was reactivated in 2018-19 and gained a bigger presence on campus since then. Harris said that since its reactivation, the club has “been going strong.”
Even though there are countless benefits to the organization, members of the board praised the sense of community that it provides for them.
“I love the support,” Harris said. “You really don’t see a lot of people on campus, so it’s an opportunity to see a lot of the Black community especially … Having that unity at these events and meeting people, it’s a really big helper for college.”
Allen also talked about how the organization helps create a bond between students because of the everyday challenges they have to face.
“I know most of their names now and we see each other, and you don’t forget those faces,” Allen said. “It’s just nice to have comfort. And some people, it’s their first generation, they don’t know what they are doing, especially being Black at a large, predominantly white school, it can be intimidating.”
BSU Vice President of Engagement, Eric Swain hopes the organization will continue to grow.
Swain said that he “wants to come back” to each new event, while also being appreciative of the fact that the organization’s foundation and sense of community are always present.
Those involved with the BSU, like Allen, hope to carry on the group’s tradition of helping others.
“It’s the impact that we can leave on other people that others left for us,” Allen said.
Rachel Means, a member of BSU, also expressed her love for the organization. She said that they all get along well and have a good time together.
“It’s a tight community,” Means said. “They always have fun events that I always want to go to.”
The BBQ on the Bluff is BSU’s back-to-school, kickoff event, but there will be many other events throughout the rest of the year.
One event that’s coming up, Black Love Day in February, involves a dinner honoring the third nationally commemorated African-American holiday.
Means described the event as “really cool,” and said that it’s a great event for anyone to attend.