Out of the 1,596 undergraduate students at Pacific University, 1.5 percent are of African American decent.
One student decided to create a group to support the minority something that hasn’t been done for more than a century. Sophomore Patrice Fuller-Williams reinstated Pacific’s Black Student Union.
“Our mission is to create an environment where ‘black’ students feel comfortable within their own skin as well as raising cultural awareness while enhancing cultural competence on campus,” said Fuller-Williams.
The group is a social support currently, but Fuller-Williams and the executive board of BSU wants to add civil activism aspects as well. In the long run, she said the union would like to be able to fundraise for low-income students to attend Pacific.
“We need to have that community, that bond,” said Fuller-Williams. “We need to express what we feel. We need to show that there is diversity on this campus. To create an supportive environment and raise a culture.”
With only eight primary members, Fuller-Williams said she wants to see more people involved.
“Some people don’t think it’s a priority,” she said. “It’s a support system to thrive in college. I feel like it has to do with an outer system.”
Fuller-Williams said the first step is getting people who support the African American minority together.
“Anybody is welcome to join,” said Fuller-Williams. “It doesn’t matter your skin color. We want students to support other students.”
Fuller-Williams said a lot of support is focused on the students from Hawaii and that the BSU will hopefully be a way to draw attention to the minority and their needs.
On Jan. 20, the BSU will host a Martin Luther King March and all participating will wear hooded sweaters to honor Trayvon Martin, an African American teen who was fatally shot in 2012.
In honor of Black History Month, a soul food dinner and screening of the film Fruitvale Station will be Feb. 13. The union will host a Black History Month play Feb. 20. There will also be a Team Miller Poet event that the union is hosting alongside Reshaping Our Opinions Through Sharing, or ROOTS.
The executive board includes president Fuller-Williams, vice president Ashlee Rivers and treasurer, senior Maria Violeta Blando. The union is still looking for a secretary.
For more information about the Black Student Union and to become involved, email BSUExecs@gmail.com.