FHSU Student Organization Feature – Black Student Union (BSU)


The concept of a Black Student Union (BSU) originated in California on the San Francisco State University campus in 1966. According to the San Francisco State University website, the first BSU was created as an organization “dedicated to unifying, uplifting, and empowering Black People on and off campus.” 

Soon after, this concept, along with the organization’s mission, was adopted by universities around the rest of the United States. The exact start date of the BSU at FHSU, specifically, is not known.

Kadrian Ayarza, vice president of the Black Student Union (BSU) at FHSU, speaks on how FHSU’s organization holds true to the original BSU’s core objectives of empowering young black students and helping to provide a safe place to talk about their experiences.

“Through the BSU at FHSU, we have created an environment of people that we may be able to relate to, help to pick each other up, and encourage each other to move forward with whichever life path they are working towards,” she said. 

Ayarza then recounts her most memorable moment of being a part of the BSU as the first event that she was able to lead, ‘The Natural Hair Journey.’

“As a young student, being able to share my story and help people navigate their own way through dealing with natural hair and, generally, just being a minority in the midwest was a touching experience for me,” Ayarza said. 

Ayarza said it was the first collaborative event she hosted and she was happy to see people begin to get more involved in the BSU following events like that. She said it was good to see people making an effort to educate themesleve on the minority experience. 

“I have made a lot of great friendships and learned a lot about leadership and organization since joining this organization and being able to share what I’ve learned and what we are working toward is an awesome thing to me,” she said. 

Ayarza is ecstatic to share events like those with everyone. She goes on to explain that while the BSU mainly focuses on the empowerment of Black students across campus, it is open for anyone and everyone to join and participate.

“We have people from all sorts of backgrounds that have come together to support the BSU although they may not be black themselves and that is always welcomed and encouraged,” she said. 

Ayarza supports her inclusivity statement saying she believes the BSU can be extremely beneficial to people of all backgrounds by exposing them to more diversity and giving a support system to multiple people through BSU executive or member roles.

“There is a lot of opportunity to learn and to take on more leadership and communication skills through the BSU,” she said. “Otherwise, the BSU provides a multitude of chances for people to get involved in the community and participate in works of service. Generally, we also aim to provide people with more insight on black history and current events going on within the black community.”

Ayarza expands on how getting involved on campus provides students with the opportunity to network with others and foster great relationships, as well as develop stronger skills to interact with others in different professional and casual settings.

“Pushing oneself to try different things broadens the personal palette to material that may help them in the future or open their eyes to something that may be beneficial to them,” Ayarza said. “Furthermore, being involved on campus as a student constructs a more productive environment where more people want to improve the general experience across campus.”

Ayarza reiterates that black is beautiful, diverse, and not limited to one culture or ethnicity.

“There are several black students, but what many people are unaware of is that they all come from different backgrounds; Afro-Latino, French, Haitian, African American… black is a classification by skin tone and physical attributes that do not always bind to our culture,” she said. 

BSU at FHSU hosts monthly meetings that typically take place every third Tuesday of the month. However, each monthly meeting announcement is made on the BSU’s Facebook and Instagram, which can both be found at @blackstudentunionforthays.

“We must be proud of our melanated skin, and in some cases in America, that comes with a culture of its own, and in others, we have yet another culture to be proud of and represent,” Ayarza said. “Spreading awareness of the difference between race – mostly representative of physical attributes – and ethnicity – mostly concerning nationality, culture, heritage, and upbringing- is a [essential] piece to opening peoples’ eyes to the complexity and beauty of the black community and other communities.”

For more information on the Black Student Union, check out their Tigerlink page at https://tigerlink.fhsu.edu/organization/bsu