On Sept. 3, the Black Student Union (BSU) hosted a Black Caucus kickoff in collaboration with other student organizations to welcome those back to school and celebrate the start of a new school year at Seton Hall.
Taylor Newkirk, a senior psychology major and president of BSU, led putting this event together. “The purpose of the Black Caucus Kickoff is to expose the student body to the African-centered organizations that Seton Hall has to offer,” Newkirk said. “The kickoff brings everyone together by having a laid-back vibe. We all have so much pressure on us as students, so having an opportunity to listen to good music and eat with friends and people you are getting to know is refreshing to some people.”
Newkirk added that BSU wants to create stronger bonds in the community. She said that the Black Caucus leaders hope to introduce the familial bond that they promote amongst themselves to the general student body, but mainly SHU’s black students. She noted that it can be difficult to be a student of color at a predominantly white institution, so making themselves present and welcoming is important if they would like to make their community stronger.
Newkirk said she also thought that the best way they can bring the university community together is by cosponsoring beyond the Black Caucus. “There are many student organizations on campus that focus on upliftment and advocating for marginalized people, so joining forces may lead to more positive change,” she said.
Newkirk explained that the goal of the Black Caucus was to assist all the black organizations. She added that the caucus allows for all the organizations to collaborate and reach similar goals. Newkirk said that the caucus has made work easier and she hopes for the group to continue working hard.
Lauren Butler, a junior communications major and public relations chair of the National Council of Negro Women, explained how the kickoff helped recruit members. “I feel like without BSU and the kickoff we wouldn’t have been able to reach as many young women as we would have liked,” Butler said. “I feel like BSU unites all the different organizations that would otherwise be separate.”
Ade Adesanya, a junior biology major, attended the event. “I enjoyed the event and I was able to see a lot of the organizations,” Adesanya said. “Even though I feel that Seton Hall is inclusive, I feel welcome here, and I was able to find a club where I feel welcomed, which is the Black Men of Standard. There are a lot of different organizations I can be a part of, and I think we should continue to have events like this to help with getting people involved with clubs.”
Newkirk also shared her plans for the future and what BSU hopes to accomplish. Aside from the Black Caucus Kickoff, BSU hopes to host bigger events uplifting the lack community. She also said that through the Black Solidarity Dinner and the Kwaheri Ceremony, they hope to give their people and their allies more visibility.
Newkirk also shared about their community service initiative at West Side High School in Newark. It is held biweekly on Fridays to aid in their “Lights On!” program, in hopes of alleviating the stigma that SHU has instilled in its students about the “right side” of campus.
Pierre La Monica can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.