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“State of the Black Student Union”.

Langston McCatty

WINCHESTER – With the events that have transpired in months past, states everywhere have seen communities divide and come together for a common goal.

Communities have extended their hands to minorities and black communities everywhere. Damaris Odebode wants to let the Shenandoah community know that the Black Student Union is here for any of those who want to have such a community backing them. 

Senior Music Education Major and Co-President of the Black Student Union (BSU), Damaris Odebode told her story about her personal experiences with BSU and what she wants for the organization and the community on campus.

“The Black Student Union is a safe place for black students on campus. It’s a way for black people on campus to become engaged with each other and with the community itself.”

Being involved with the Black Student Union since her freshman year, Odebode has expressed that while she loves being a part of the BSU, there have been challenges. “It definitely comes with its challenges but I really enjoy the space to have a conversation without judgment attached to it.”

Odebode expressed that while there have been faculty, staff members, and other organizations that have helped the BSU, most of the support and recognition did not come from the entirety of the campus until after transgressions in the summer. 

She also expressed that she wants the organization to be more recognized on campus. 

“One of our faults is just that we lack structure (we don’t have anything to go off of). I was handed the position and it was on me to build up the BSU the best way I could. Because we are a PWI (predominately white institution), it is hard to exist without structure or role models.”

Odebode, when asked expressed that another challenge is getting students to help with the organization. “I think consistent membership is a huge thing for us. It has never been stable.” 

As the co-president of the Black Student, a black woman, and a minority at a predominately white institution, Odebode wants to reach out to her black community with this statement, –“Don’t be afraid to try new things. Come out. We are all a community here and we all can connect. We just need to show up and show out.”

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