The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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CSUN kicks off spring semester with “Welcome Black”

Calvin Henry
File photo. A student checks out the Aspire apartments’ showcase table at the Welcome Black event in the Northridge Center of the USU on Sept. 13, 2023.

The Northridge Center on CSUN’s campus was swarmed by a vast array of Black scholars, clubs, and alumni to connect the Black community here on campus, following a shaky faculty strike at the beginning of the spring semester.

Opening its doors from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 14, the event featured finger foods to snack on and a DJ providing an aura of childhood memories transitioning into more current mainstream bops that lended a good energy to the environment, while guests mingled with new and familiar faces. Pulling the strings together to create this inclusive event on campus was Natalie Johnson, manager of equity and diversity initiatives at the University Student Union.

“Actually my first ‘Welcome Black,’ I really loved seeing the connections of the community gathering and talking amongst each other, getting to know each of the clubs and resources the campus offers for inclusion of this body of students. We are always looking for ways to promote marketing strategies to get student engagement for the feedback we want to see from these students,” Johnson said.

Some of those resources “Welcome Black” displayed was a trove of prestigious clubs including the Black Scholars Union, National Association of Black Journalists, East African Student Association, Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated, Alpha Kappa Alpha and more. Jordan Cox, a junior from Alpha Phi Alpha Inc., said he “would like to see better promotion of the event and future events to get addressed to students.” He added that he “didn’t feel the event was known about enough to the people who it catered to.”

The issue of promotion and engagement was a popular concern for students involved in volunteering the event for their fellow clubs. Student Yahya Kedir, who is part of the Black Students Success Council, Black Scholars Union, and East African Student Association said, “it was dope seeing everyone in one place, it’s been a while since we were all together. This event definitely set the tone for this semester. I can appreciate that the president of the school came out to show support for the first time that happened in years, however, we need to be more focused exposure wise to our demographic being involved. I can see we get the least amount of attention.”

Unity is the driving force of the “Welcome Black” event by connecting a network of people from a similar background to be accommodated with their academic needs while attending CSUN.

CSUN alumnus and journalism major Ty Lewis said, “I always try to stay adamant about staying connected with the campus community so students of color can see the success of former graduates. I enjoyed the students networking and strategizing to become successful.”

Following up with a similar comment regarding unity, Kedir said, “In the future I hope to see more Black clubs together and unified. I feel like togetherness is a lost trait for us right now as a collective, where in the past, as you saw today with past alumni, we were still connected and deep in numbers. We need the same reciprocation in our tenure here even before events like this, but in general, like we did last semester with the numerous club collaborations we had.”

Breanna Stewart, CSUN chapter president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said, “I would hope to see more students engaged to actually find out and be invested with the clubs, not just to get familiar with the what the club is, but what is trying to be accomplished and how they can help advance the push of Black student inclusion on campus for the future.”

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