“In the past 25 years, the campus’ student of color population percentage has had virtually no growth, especially when it comes to black students. Additionally, retention rates for black students are disturbingly low compared to other ethnicities, even compared with other student of color groups. At any given graduation, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Prescott will only have one black graduate for every fifty white graduates.
Before the BSA, there was nothing on campus that fostered a place for togetherness amongst black students. The sad truth is, without the BSA, there will most-likely never be another chance in our lifetimes that we will have the opportunity to be in a room surrounded by black pilots, engineers, security & intelligence specialists, and businessmen/women… It is extraordinarily encouraging to see a room full of people who would have never had the opportunity to be in a room with those who look similar to them, considering our white counterparts receive this luxury every single day.
This organization is making strides to becoming something fierce and powerful on campus. There are no words to describe how elated I am for the future of this BSA. Embry-Riddle, we are here. We are torrential. We are unstoppable. To those silently watching: remain upwind of our storm.”
-Kamia Bradley, Sophomore, President
“Coming here and knowing that there are other people like me on campus empowers me because I know that everyone in this room is going to rise to be something good one day… And you’ll see that younger generations will also see us and say, ‘Okay, no matter what the stereotype is—we can still rise above it.’ Going to class now with this organization being around makes me hold my head up higher.”
-Melea Tucker, Freshman, Legacy Director
Addressing the BSA members, “You all have already risen above that stereotypes and statistics just by being here. And that’s a great thing to see. You’ve defeated a lot of the ‘what if’s’ and the ‘not you’s’ and the ‘you can’t possibly’s’—just by being here, just by being on this campus… And that says a lot.”
-Deshondra Sheri Cooper, “BSA Mama”
“I’ve met more students of color this year just because of this organization alone. When I go to BSA meetings and I meet these students and I realize they have the same dreams as me, the same goals as me, the same drive, and they had to face some of the same obstacles that I have—it makes me want to do amazing things.”
-Briana Makuza, Sophomore
“The Black Student Alliance is one of the best organizations out there. As a member I truly love and appreciate the support that each and every member gives to me. This not only provides us with the most amazing time but allows us to have friends from every degree all around campus. The fun events and members make every meeting amazing. Things like watching fun movies and the good food means that every BSA meeting is too much fun.”
–TJ Vandenburg, Sophomore
“Many of us persons of color are too often underestimated in the field of STEM; we’re given a small, if any voice, in this realm of brilliance. Going to a university where there are few people that share a similar identity, it makes it hard sometimes to stay strong-minded, because there is a certain degree of loneliness associated with being a minority. With that being said, BSA as an organization changed lives this year with its creation. As black students, we finally have a niche; a place where we can feel like ourselves, where we can feel safe in social situations, a place full of beautifully talented STEM students who all empower each other to strive for infinite success. BSA is paving the way for excellence, illustrating how it is very possible to be black, AND represent aviation, math, science, business, or security.”
-Erica Smith, Freshman, Social Consultant
BSA Calendar of Events:
BSA will be hosting several events during the month of February. In honor of Black History Month, the organization will be hosting and co-sponsoring a variety of events to showcase Black History, talent, and awareness. Every event is open to anyone who is interested in attending, including non-members.
February begins with a Silent Protest and Poster Hanging event that will take place on the first. Those partaking in the event will be asked to bring a flyer, poster, or any other “hangable” object that showcases some of the accomplishments of black figures in the STEM field. Groups will disperse around campus, hand out fliers, hang posters, and find creative ways to share the information with their colleagues while remaining silent.
On Saturday, Feb. 3, BSA is showing their support to Embry Riddle Aeronautical University’s basketball teams at their final home game of the season. Everyone attending is encouraged to wear all black to create a “Blackout Section” to be easily recognizable to the teams from the floor. The women’s game is at 5:30 p.m. and the men’s game is at 7:30 p.m.. Regardless of attire though, everyone is encouraged to come out and show support.
Next, on Feb. 5, is BSA’s Hands in Solidarity event. Attendees will meet in the Lower Hangar at 7:00 p.m., cut out small fists, and write the names of anyone who they feel deserves to be honored. Then, the fists will be placed on a larger poster that will remain in the Lower Hangar until February is over. Posting will be allowed throughout the month.
On Wednesday, Feb. 7, BSA will host a Self-Love workshop, right in time for Valentine’s Day. At this event, members and attendees will have the opportunity to have a dialogue about self-love and having a positive self-image.
Feb. 12 through the 16 is Social Justice Week. Social Justice Week is a week dedicated to raising awareness about several social justice issues, and BSA has the honor of sponsoring a few of the events. BSA will be directly sponsoring the Lunch and Learn session on Tuesday, Feb. 13 and the Equity Bake Sale on Friday, Feb. 16.
During Social Justice Week, on Feb. 15, “Black Panther” releases, and BSA will be selling tickets for three dollars each as a fundraiser for the 7:00 p.m. showing. The club will be selling tickets around campus soon, so keep an eye out if you’d like to show your support for BSA and get cheap movie tickets.
Finally, on Feb. 28, BSA will be hosting a Mac’N’Cheese Off. Competitors will bring homemade mac ‘n’ cheese to the event to be judged by everyone attending. The winner will be crowned “The Big Cheese” and win a prize.
BSA is very excited to be hosting these events and even more excited to be an official organization here on campus. Keep an eye out for announcements about events.