Summer Woods ’21 is on a mission to let every member of the Mount Saint Mary’s community know that the Black Student Union is alive and well.
After Woods became president last fall, the group decided to merge Chalon’s African American Women’s Council with Doheny’s Black Student Union to unite all Black voices at the Mount — undergraduate, graduate and Weekend/Evening & Online students. “Black students are a very small number on campus, so it made sense to have one club,” she says.
Reinvigorated with fresh energy, the new Black Student Union’s mission is to celebrate Black culture and build its community presence. “We hope to create experiences not only for Black students, but for all Mount students interested in Black culture,” she says. “Black students feel the Mount is their home, but we want them to also feel that they are valued members of the community.”
The Union launched their first activities in December just in time for the holidays, and students gathered virtually to share Christmas family traditions and to learn the seven principles of Kwanzaa. This spring, programming included Instagram series on Bob Marley, Mardi Gras and African queens (“Good Morning Queen”); movie and game nights; and discussions during Black History Month that focused on Black activists, inventors and COVID-19 within the Black community.
One of the group’s goals is to collaborate with other departments and clubs on campus. The Black Student Union recently cohosted a Motown event with the psychology department and film screenings with the Women in Film & Media Club. For Women’s History Month, the group will be hosting an event examining Black stigma in partnership with the Psychology Club and Counseling & Psychological Services.
The Union is also focused on building its online community through social media platforms until students can gather in person. “Right now, using online technology like Instagram is the best way to build a rapport while we are still physically distanced,” Woods says. Follow the group on Instagram @msmu.bsu.
For Woods, giving back to the Mount is personal. “I am a transfer student, and the Mount has become my second home,” she says. “I’m honored to do this for my University. To be able to share this aspect of my life and to connect with other students feels amazing! I will do everything in my power to make sure this club has a lasting presence.”