Black student union honors standouts at the Hall

During Black History Month, on Feb. 23, Seton Hall’s Black Student Union held their annual “Black student appreciation” event in honor of young African American men who are enablers of excellence in their community and living out Martin Luther King Jr’s dream.

One of the honorees in particular showed outstanding performance within his community.

Edward Joyner had lived in foster homes since he was 2-years-old, residing in two group homes before his transition to Seton Hall University.

The Educational Opportunity Program played a large role in providing Joyner his chance of success at Seton Hall by giving him a scholarship to attend the University.

Erwin Ponder was the associate director of Seton Hall’s Educational Opportunity Program who was in charge of enhancing student’s futures and selecting those to grant the scholarships. He was integral in bringing Joyner to campus.

In memory and honor of Ponder, BSU held a moment of silence for the man who they consider to have been one of the most inspiring black men on campus.

Ponder worked for Seton Hall for 26 years and will always be remembered in the hearts of those he worked with.

Joyner remembers Ponder as a great supporter and caring man.

“I thought Mr. Ponder was like our uncle Phil, the Father of EOP. He was always there for everyone when they needed guidance and gave the best advice,” Joyner said.

Joyner takes Ponder’s story as motivation for his future and helping others in his own life.

He actively volunteers at the New Brunswick Elijah’s Promise soup kitchen and currently works at the Girls and Boys Club as a mentor and tutor for children in Kindergarten to eighth grade.

Edward was also a student ambassador for the Rutgers future scholars and was very appreciative of his honor.

Throughout this fun-filled event there was music, a creative slideshow with pictures and biographies, delicious food and drinks and even a beautiful tribute dance that all came together to truly enhance the experience, all free of charge.

This special event took place in the University Center’s Main Lounge and was fully decorated with red and orange balloons, an abundance of food and tables with notable African American figures on each one.

Each man was honored with a speech and a biography on the projector screen, as the women of BSU took it into their own hands to

support their dates.

Among those also being awarded were Tremayne Castel, who is also a BSU member who runs track and plays basketball; Christian Powe, a sophomore studying History; Derel Stroud, a senior and active member of Seton Hall with a political science major; and Durell Hill, who was the senior tribute and a scholar.

Dantley Raquepo was Joyner’s date to the event. She said she found the experience truly gratifying.

“It was very uplifting event, I was very proud of the guys in particular Edward for all of their accomplishments and achievements and truly hope that they will keep moving forward in life as well as help inspire others along the way,” she said.

Joyner spoke out on behalf of the honorees who dedicate their time in helping others as well as the success in their own lives.

“Oftentimes African American males lose sight in trying to do what is right because they do not have many examples to follow,” he said. “It makes me feel honored to be an example for young African American males who wish to succeed.”

Author: Staff Writer

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