Written by Elinor Aspegren
With over 100 clubs and organizations on Gunn’s campus ranging from Cheese Club to Thespian Club, none offer more of a sense of belonging to its members than the Black Student Union (BSU). Run by senior Menna Mulat and junior Tiazha Jackson, the organization prides itself on its diverse atmosphere and commitment to serving minorities.
According to Jackson, several changes to the club have strengthened this atmosphere. “One thing that we’re fo- cusing on this year is not just bettering the community around us but bettering ourselves,” she said. This year, they are working on a partnership with the Ecumenical Hunger Program to focus on volunteering for their com- munity. Additionally, the club wants to bridge stereo- types and teach others information regarding minorit awareness beyond what is learned in the classroom. Club member sophomore Aldric Bianchi said he joined the club because he wanted to help create this change. “I wanted to destroy the stigma or stereotype around us that we’re not into education,” he said. “I want to change that fact, and I want people to view us for our culture and community.”
According to Mulat, a typical meeting consists of a focused agenda that allows discussion and dialogue on events, issues and the general black com- munity. “We try and have a goal for each meeting—for example, one of our goals right now is to raise our overall [grade point average] and help each other out,” she said. “What we like to see [and talk about] is what our schools do and how we can put ourselves out there for them.”
The two presidents are planning to put on several events this year. In addition to the club food fair, the BSU will be volunteering with several organizations and planning a dance for BSUs at other schools. “We’re
going to have a school dance and last year during one of the fairs we made food—we cooked jambalaya and hot dogs to make money for our club,” Bianchi said. “There’s also many other BSUs in other high schools, and there’s going to be a conference in Sacramento that we’re going to attend.”
According to club member junior Victoria Crayton, BSU prides itself on its awareness and inclusion. “We have more diversity in our club—it’s not just black. Al- though that is our focus, we do welcome all so that we can have different views from each person from their different cultures,” she said.
Mulat added that diversity was the club’s goal be- cause there are not many minorities on campus. “At this school, there’s not a lot of minorities or at least not a lot of African-Americans, so all black students and all minorities need to get together and talk about the same things that they go through in life,” she said. Overall, BSU gives its members more than just a place to talk: it gives them a place to be them- selves. “BSU provides a sense of unity that provides a place for everyone to go to. It’s like a family that’s with you on campus,” Jackson said. Crayton agreed with the aspect of a family at- mosphere. “When we see each other on campus we say hi, we mess around with each other, we joke, but it’s a safe environment for every- body to express their opinions and thoughts,” she said. “It helps with awareness and allows me to feel like I have a place at this school.”