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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

‘It’s food, music and games that unifies people’: Black Student Union hosts annual block party

The Quinnipiac University Black Student Union hosted a block party on Sept. 9 on the Quad to promote unity on campus and highlight the importance of Black culture in the ‘90s. 

BSU hosted its annual kick-off event as an introduction to the 2023-24 academic year. This year’s event was ‘90s inspired  and featured a mix of music, lawn games and soul food to welcome students back to Quinnipiac. Choosing a block party as this year’s theme encouraged students to attend and get to know the organization’s members and executive board to build community, the organization’s president said. 

“It’s a block party, it’s a cookout, and that is integral to Black culture,” said Yealie Ulaba-Samura, a junior psychology major and BSU president. “So we do this every year, to kind of join people together, celebrate the new year and get fresh faces and old faces to mingle in a less formal setting.”

The BSU members hope to share the message that every student has a safe space within the organization. 

The group aims to prioritize the community it has created on campus by welcoming everyone to express themselves and their cultures. 

“I hope that they feel like BSU is going to be a home for them,” Ulaba-Samura said. “I hope that they feel comfortable and welcomed … like they’re going to have fun, that they’re going to have a space to be themselves and embrace their culture in a way that you don’t see other places on campus because it’s a (primarily white institution).”

The BSU e-board planned the event for several months and faced some challenges.

“It took a lot of work,” said Shamara Wethington Mizell, a junior interdisciplinary studies major and BSU’s event coordinator. “Some vendors canceled on us. We’ve been planning since summer … but luckily we have a very good president, Yealie. So we were able to pull it together.” 

Emphasizing inclusivity within the club, BSU chose to present the event on the quad so it would be accessible to all students. 

“Over the last couple of weeks, you’ve seen things like Greek week happening out here, you’ve seen the engagement fair out here, and then the next week, it’s BSU,” said Claude Mayo, Quinnipiac’s director of academic integrity. “So you know, it’s sort of welcoming the community in a very prominent place.” 

 The organization welcomes students of all cultures and backgrounds to partake in their club and future events. 

“I feel like they do a very good job of not only including people of color, (but) anyone is always welcome,” said Samuel Dorielan, a senior film, television and media arts major who attended the event.

Sharing Black culture within the block party, BSU implemented a ‘90s theme by encouraging students to dress in their favorite apparel from the decade. This era was heavily influenced by Black culture, specifically its fashion. Different ‘90s icons changed the style by incorporating Black culture into pop culture through big gold hoops, flannels and the mix and match of different types of clothing. 

According to unpublished magazine, “90s icons like Salt-N-Pepa, Will Smith, and Queen Latifah would wear Afrocentric clothing such as Kufi hats, head wraps, wax prints, and symbolic African colors such as red, gold, green and black, bringing African culture to Hollywood and our TV screens.”

Throughout the day, attendees played a variety games to get the crowd talking and get to know one another. They also played a finish-the-lyric game centered around the ‘90s and early 2000s. 

“It’s food, music, and games that unifies people,” said Clea Mayo, a sophomore industrial engineering major. 

BSU often promotes the club and events on Instagram and members encouraged anyone interested in being part of the organization to follow them on the platform. 

“Grab any of us, we like to think that our population extends to all the students of color on campus and beyond and we really try to make that effort… so anybody can get connected and we all try to bring somebody to the next meeting,” Claude Mayo said. “From there it takes off.” 

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Peyton McKenzie
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