On September 16, Ohio Wesleyan hosted its first dinner and panel discussion in six years, for members of the Alliance for Black Student Leadership, with more than 120 students and alumni representing six colleges and universities.
“Various people of color come together periodically to share experiences and promote diversity,” says Gene Sludge ’13, co-president of Ohio Wesleyan’s Student Union on Black Awareness (SUBA). “It’s about multicultural awareness and unity bonding. You build relationships that you normally wouldn’t have an opportunity to do.” The alliance gatherings encourage students from different colleges to come together and support each other. During the recent dinner event, for example, former alliance members (now alumni) representing their alma maters, Otterbein , Denison, Ohio Wesleyan, and Capital universities, reflected on their college experiences. Panelists offered advice about their own academic and professional lives, pointing out the importance of networking.
“It [the evening’s dinner and discussion] has a family-oriented vibe.” That night, one of the alumni attendees was celebrating her birthday, and the entire group sang to her.
“This person took time on her birthday to come, and brought her own family to celebrate with her other [alliance] family,” says Terree Stevenson, OWU’s director of multicultural affairs. A former chair of the Alliance for Black Student Leadership, Stevenson likes the collaborative relationships fostered by the alliance, and hopes to help coordinate even more shared events and leadership development opportunities.
Founded in 1987 as the Black Student Task Force (BSTF), its original goal was to give multicultural students the ability to step into leadership positions and open up opportunities for them that would enrich their development as students. BSTF was re-established in 2000 as the Alliance for Black Student Leadership comprised of colleges including: Capital University, Ohio Dominican University, Denison University, Otterbein University, Kenyon College, Wittenberg University, and Mount Vernon Nazarene University.
“It’s open to everybody,” says Ronnesha Addison ’12, who has worked in the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs for several years. “Check it out. Come to a meeting; come out and show your face! There are many opportunities.” Amaris Cox ‘14 also co-president of SUBA, hopes to see more people get involved with the alliance.
“I would like for us to have a larger impact on the Ohio Wesleyan and Delaware communities,” he says. Meetings take place at 7 p.m. every Sunday in the Smith Date Study.