Student Organization Spotlight: Black Student Union

Doxey Kamara, Intersections Editor

Courtesy of Tulane’s Black Student Union

This article is the first in a series of interviews and conversations with student leaders regarding the organizations which they represent. If you would like your organization to participate in this series, please reach out to [email protected] for more information.

The Tulane Black Student Union was founded in 1969. Presently, it organizes several on-and-off campus activities for Tulane students. The president, Raymell Green, agreed to have an interview with The Hullabaloo about the tBSU’s purpose and presence on campus.

In this interview, President Green emphasized that the Black Student Union’s goal is to provide an environment in which Black Tulanians can exist on campus. Outreach events, such as Melanin Mondays, are a part of the tBSU’s purpose.

According to Green, tBSU’s purpose is, “…to be Black and to be present, to let the people that aren’t Black know that we’re here on campus, that we matter, and we exist. And also to let the other Black students on campus know that we’ll be on campus and here for you.”

By being present and taking up space on campus, the tBSU can help Black students at Tulane find a place to belong in a predominantly white institution. Green emphasized that the tBSU provides a place of belonging for Black students on campus.

Many minority students are affected by imposter syndrome, where people question their own achievements and their place in higher education. Students of color, who can feel underrepresented and face racial discrimination, already report higher rates of depression and anxiety than white college students. 

Referencing feelings of imposter syndrome and isolation, President Green said, “Being Black at a PWI can be a not-so-fun experience at times, and can feel very isolating at times… I don’t think I’ve met a Black student in my grade yet that hasn’t considered, at least once, transferring or dropping out altogether. And I think the point of BSU is to help alleviate that — give people a community.” 

For students interested in joining this community, Green noted that there are a number of ways to get in touch.

“All of our e-board members are generally pretty accessible. I’ve had people come up to me and just talk to me on McAlister — that’s perfectly fine. There’s also the Black Student Union group chat, which we use for a lot of communication for our general body… It’s a very community-oriented group chat, which I think is very beneficial to our purpose. There’s also our Instagram page, which is very important. We have a concerns/suggestions box, which any student, faculty, or staff member can use to suggest ideas or if there’s a concern or even to just give us a compliment… we have somebody managing our Instagram page, so if you have any questions or want to get more involved, you can definitely just DM us on there.”

Green’s advice to new students is to keep all of your dates and commitments in a calendar. He also emphasizes that tBSU is for all Tulanians, meaning it cannot — and will not — prevent non-Black students from joining. Green emphasizes that disrespectful, racist or otherwise unwelcome conduct will not be tolerated, and the tBSU has no obligation to keep disruptive people in its events.

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