UF celebrates black history and diversity on campus

Buford Center and BSU plan nine events for Black History Month 

By Hannah Dunbar

Every February, Black History Month is celebrated as a time to recognize African Americans’ role and cultural influence in U.S. history. Last year, The University of Findlay celebrated the monthly observation’s 100 year anniversary. But this year will include several new events for students to attend. Johnathan White, graduate assistant of intercultural student services, said each year the Black History events on campus change, except for the Black Tie Affair held on Feb. 13. Hosted by the Black Student Union, the Black Tie Affair is an annual dance held on campus.

A new event created this year that White would like to see turn into an annual affair is the Unity Dinner on Feb. 10.

“Our vision for the Unity Dinner would be to have students and student leaders from different organizations come together and share ideas over a meal,” said White.

White wants students to think about how they can start to form relationships with organizations they may not be a part of. Tyler Donaldson, senior strength and conditioning major and president of Black Student Union, shares the same goal as White.

“More than anything, being in Black Student Union means I have a platform that allows me to reach out and help others in more ways than one,” said Donaldson.

Currently, the Buford Intercultural Center and Black Student Union have nine events planned for Black History Month. Out of the nine events, White said there are two he is especially excited about. On Feb. 16, a Soul Food History lesson will be hosted by chef and UF alumna, Keitha West. According to White, West is a talented and well-versed chef who is the owner of her own catering service called Hotbox Order App LLC.

“As an alumna, West will be able to relate to our students, sharing her experience from undergrad to grad to professional,” said White.

The lesson will be held in the Buford Intercultural Center with the availability of two time slots: from 12 to 1 p.m. and 2 to 3 p.m. The event is open to all students and RSVP is required prior to the lesson. Students can sign up in the Buford Intercultural Center.

In addition to the Soul Food History lesson, White is looking forward to the Meet the Greeks program on Feb. 24. For this event, members of the nine historically African American International Greek Lettered Fraternities and Sororities will be on campus to provide a background of their organizations to the UF community.

As a member of a historically African American fraternity, White said it will be a great opportunity for students to learn since UF does not currently have any on campus. While the events on campus are significant, White wants students to know it is important that Black History Month is recognized by others.

“Oftentimes, the contributions made by African Americans in our country go unnoticed,” said White.

White said he thinks greater importance needs to be on the fact that black history and diversity should be celebrated 365 days a year rather than just during the month of February. He explained that the office of intercultural student services will continue to educate students, engage in dialogue, and host events that will continue to let the UF campus community know how important black history, multiculturalism, and diversity are to people’s everyday lives.

Black Student Union is one of several ways the UF campus community can become educated on black history and diversity. As president, Donaldson said he enjoys being a part of Black Student Union because it has played a historical role on campus.

“It has helped many students persevere and reach new heights both inside and outside of the classroom here at UF,” said Donaldson.

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