San Marcos,
28
February
2017

CSUSM Welcomes Black Student Center

By Katie Chappell

Concluding the month-long celebration for Black History Month, CSUSM added its own historical milestone with the grand opening of the University’s Black Student Center. The special event on Thursday, Feb. 23 began with an opening ceremony and ribbon cutting, followed by a reception in the new space, performances and a keynote speech during U-hour.

The Black Student Center, located on the fourth floor of the University Student Union (USU 4200), joins other centers and student spaces that aim to create a welcoming environment for all student populations and direct students to important support services.

The center’s opening was not the only milestone for black students on campus in recent months. Last year for the first time in campus history, the ASI board was made up of women of color and CSUSM established its first National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) black sorority, and is the process of establishing an NPHC fraternity.

At the ribbon-cutting ceremony last Thursday, President Karen Haynes shared that it was the inspiration of students that brought the center to fruition. A group of student leaders from ASI and the Black Student Union championed the idea and contributed to a task force that made the case for the new center to University officials less than 18 months ago.

“It took people with passion and purpose, with commitment and caring, and with the skills to influence and implement to make this center a reality,” Haynes said. “I am particularly proud that those attributes were shown by our students.”

 

The center has been open since January, when the new associate director of the center, Anthony Jett Sr., started his post. Jett holds a master’s degree in Higher Education Leadership from Northcentral University in Prescott, Arizona, and has six years of experience in higher education.

“I am very much looking forward to playing an active role in helping to develop, coordinate and implement programs that serve our students and celebrate black heritage and culture,” Jett said.

At the ceremony Thursday, former ASI president Tiffaney Boyd who was a part of the group of students that advocated for the Black Student Center, called it the biggest achievement of her time at CSUSM. The space has already become a vibrant home for members of the campus community, enhancing the University’s mission to be a diverse and inclusive place that reflects and serves its student population and the region.

Student Louis Adamsel, a communication major who joined Boyd and others in shaping a vision for the center, shared his excitement for its future.

“Campus wide this will allow for more African American students to foster bonds and engagement with the campus,” he said. “The center will develop leaders that will be engaged on campus for years to come.”

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Katie Chappell
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