BY ANNISTON WEBER
This Saturday, the Fort Hays State Black Student Union will be hosting a block party in the quad. The event is scheduled from 7 to 10 p.m. and face masks are required to attend.
BSU President Danzel Major said social distancing is also encouraged, and that there will be music, food and activities for those who go to the party.
The event was originally scheduled for the first week of classes, but with COVID cases rising, the BSU decided to take precautions by pushing back their event to a less crowded date.
“We believe that when we put on events we have to make sure our events are held to a standard that we can look back on and be proud,” Major said. “The safety of the students are our priority, so we decided to postpone to better prepare for COVID.”
BSU advisor Dr. Nuchelle Chance said the organization wants to plan additional events for the year, but it is difficult to do so with the current pandemic.
“We have to play it by ear,” Chance said. “It would be nice to plan other events such as outdoor sports and socializing as well as member only events for getting to know each other.”
Major said he feels welcome at the BSU even though that hasn’t always been the case living in Hays.
“To be a Black person in Hays is interesting because a majority of the Black students here are athletes,” Major said. “So when people see me and they find out I’m a grad student they are confused because they think I’m here for sports.”
As a Black college student, Major said he feels like he has to prove himself academically to be “on the same level” as his white peers.
“I feel like I have to prove my value as an equal by being smarter rather than just meeting a person where they are at,” he said. “The BSU gives me a place where I can just be.”
Chance said she strongly encourages students to join the BSU.
“The BSU is a place where Black and Brown students can find a sense of community and belonging in a place where they do not necessarily feel like they fit in,” Chance said. “Finding comradery with peers, especially as students, promotes and increases student engagement which generally has a positive impact on academic outcomes.”