Student Organizations - Black Student Union
The Black Student Union works to bring about a greater awareness of black culture and black presence at the university of Maine by enhancing the social and intellectual participation of black students within the university and community at large.
- To provide a supportive atmosphere to all students of African decent at the University of Maine
- To create a social/educational interaction amongst the diverse black community and other communities at the University of Maine
- To create a cultural exchange within the University of Maine
BSU is now recruiting new members !!!! Membership is open to the entire student body of the University of Maine.
Black Student Union expands membership
J. Astra Brinkmann
Maine Campus Article
Issue date: 10/23/06 Section: News
One of the Black Student Union’s newest recruits is Caucasian student Elonnai Hickok. She is one of 22 members that make up BSU, whose membership count just a few weeks ago was one.
Gimbala Sankare, president of BSU, was the sole member and the impetus for rejuvenating student interest. A first-year student from the Bronx, Sankare spent three of his past summers at the Future Teachers Academy, a program offered at the University of Maine. Over the years, Sankara became acquainted with Jose L. Cordero III, Interim Director of the Multicultural Student Affairs at the Multicultural Center. As Sankare was considering extracurricular activities on the campus, it came to his attention through Cordero that BSU was losing its members and fast, mostly due to graduation.
“I could have joined the African Student Association, but BSU wasn’t growing, so I decided to take it,” Sankare said.
Sankare’s personality is matched for his task. “People think that I’m a social butterfly,” Sankare said of his recruitment process. He and Cordero pass out brochures to prospective and current members and encourage them to spread the word.
Initially, Sankare’s objective was to recruit 12 new members, but after emceeing at the Midnight Mosaic, 21 students had joined, six of them Caucasian and several others Latino.
When asked why he believes interest in BSU was low, Sankare said, “Everyone thinks that BSU is just for black students, but that’s a misrepresentation.” He cited the commonly mistaken perception to the ’90s, when BSU was recognized exclusively as an extension for black UMaine football athletes to express themselves.
“Our goal is to have African American students, African students and other cultures in BSU so we can learn from each other,” Sankare said.
Sankare also wishes to address the false impression that BSU would only be active during February for Black History month. “Almost everyone expects us to be active [then]. Instead of waiting until February, BSU plans to have events scheduled for the whole year.”
One of Sankare’s reasons to push member recruitment is BSU’s possible attendance of a conference to inspire and improve organizational skills. He also hopes that BSU will co-sponsor activities like the Winter Ball.
Sankare is grateful for Cordero’s assistance in the recruitment process. “Jose’s been a support for me, a real trooper. We sit there for hours planning activities. I don’t know what I’d do without him,” Sankare said.