BSU offers an opportunity to help students become leaders, ‘workers’

In the 1960s, racism was a prevalent issue. During these times, the Black Student Union serve as a safe haven for many African American students.

More than 40 years later, the BSU is one of the largest minority Registered Student Organizations on campus with more than 120 student members.

Otis Seawood, a senior family and consumer sciences major and the current president of BSU, feels that the BSU is still needed.

Seawood said he feels that BSU’s focus is to encourage all students, no matter the race, to excel as leaders.

The BSU offers committees for its members so they can get more involved on campus. There are six main committees members can choose from: PR and marketing, internal affairs, financial affairs, service affairs, social affairs and academic affairs.

Morgan Cuerton, a junior psychology major, transferred last year to Eastern, and the BSU was the first organization she joined.

Cuerton did not feel connected to any of her classmates at her previous school.

“I didn’t feel like I had a college experience,” Cuerton said.

“It is nice being involved in a group with people who share the same views,” Cuerton said.

Cuerton joined the social affairs committee last year and was able to plan a Black History Month event, “Mental Slavery.”

Cuerton said planning the event helped her leadership skills.

The BSU helps students network, but its main focus this year is to help students academically, Seawood said.

The BSU will also have mini academic workshops during the weekly meetings to see that this main focus is met.

“Every BSU meeting will be different,” Seawood said.

One meeting may be a social meeting and the next meeting may involve discussions about issues in the black community.

“BSU is all about the members,” Seawood said. “Our members are workers, and as a worker, you become a part of a diverse community.”

Nicole Nettles, a senior business management major, said her position as the treasurer of the BSU is helping to prepare her for the future.

Nettles joined the BSU three years ago as a networking opportunity to meet friends and faculty. She said has met many of her friends through the BSU.

By the end of the year, BSU plans on taking a trip out of town, as a reward to the members for their hard work.

Last year, the BSU hosted events like “A Trip Down Motown,” “Miss Black EIU” and “Essence of a Man.”

Seawood said BSU plans on co-sponsoring with more RSOs to get more students involved. He said he believes co-sponsoring will encourage the BSU members to explore other organizations and to become leaders.

The BSU meetings are held every Monday at 6 p.m. in the Charleston-Mattoon Room in the Martin Luther King Jr., University Union.

Zinika Livingston can be reached at 581-7942 or

[email protected].