The Black Student Union was once a thriving club on the Bellevue College campus. Members were able to build a sense of community with one another and gain exposure and awareness through shared experiences. “My experience was amazing,” said former BSU member, Isaac Mambu. He told the Watchdog that the BSU was an accepting place, educating members through a variety of conversational topics relating to black culture and black history, a learning experience that he could not find outside of the campus organization. Like many students, what drove him to join the BSU chapter was “wanting to advocate for something, to be aware of what was going on, and learn more about on campus life.” Mambu was also a part of the Bellevue College DECA program, as well as the African Student Association. But, the BSU chapter really made an impact on his student life here at BC. He told the Watchdog, “It shaped the way I think, shaped my perspective. Made me realize that unity has power.”
Things changed last year: the BSU President left and a lack of leadership caused the student organization to become inactive. Other on-campus organizations, such as the Association of Veterans and the Arabic Cultural Student Association struggle with the same issues of continuing their organizations after a leader stepped down. Many clubs are currently without advisors and directors, making it incredibly difficult for new students in leadership to ask questions and have examples on how to make their clubs successful.
Another issue that comes into play is student involvement itself. The only way for student organizations to flourish is through students taking interest and taking action as leaders. Many BC students are not aware of all the opportunities available to them on campus, with clubs ranging from culture to sports. Many renowned clubs that are at other schools and four-year universities also have at a home at BC. Yet, many of these opportunities go unnoticed.
This is where Zy Cole stepped up to the plate and applied for the vacant position of the BSU President. A recent high school graduate, Cole was a part of the BSU at his old school and came to Bellevue College looking to connect with a new community. As the new president, Cole plans to make the new BSU a place of inclusivity. Cole wants the BSU to be a place for black students to “be black together, and be a place to look forward to on Wednesdays when we meet.”
While the BSU currently only has one member, many students have expressed interest in joining the new chapter, including Isaac Mambu, who will be returning. The BSU will continue to be a place of conversation, hanging out, and learning from one another on a weekly basis. Meetings take place on Wednesdays at 3 p.m. in C225. There are many events in the works for the upcoming quarter, including a trip to Atlanta, Georgia for the Black Students Lead Conference.