Up & Coming Weekly

March 14, 2023

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

Issue link: http://www.epageflip.net/i/1494888

Contents of this Issue


Page 11 of 24

WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM MARCH 15 - 21, 2023 UCW 11 Methodist University's Black Student Union has come a long way — in both reach and impact — during its eight years of existence. So much so that the organization has ex- panded to both undergraduate and graduate students. e University is home to more than a hundred student organizations including the Black Student Union, which was originally formed in 2015 with the purpose of creating a community among Black MU students. Sophomore TiyeNandi Alexander, a Nurs- ing major, recently took the reigns as student president of the Black Student Union, a posi- tion that has helped her grow as a person in the past year or so. "Normally, I would keep to myself a lot. But in my freshman year, the former presi- dent and vice president of the Black Student Union came up to me and took me under their wing," Alexander said. "I started com- ing to events and meetings. Eventually, they trusted me to carry on the legacy of the Black Student Union." MU's Black Student Union regularly hosts dozens of events and discussions throughout the year including information tables, poetry slams, movie nights, powder puff football games, spirit week and much more. Current- ly, more than 50 students are members of the Black Student Union. Although young in age, the Black Student Union has helped provide an important voice during discussions of how to make Methodist University a more inclusive place — helping the University rank No. 1 as the most diverse university in North Carolina. "It's important to have representation and inclusivity because we are a minority off and on campus," she said. "We want to create a brotherhood and sisterhood while offering a safe space for Black students to feel like they belong. We want to help them feel like we have people who are like them in their ideas and their culture." While the undergraduate chapter has been in place since 2015, the graduate chapter of the Black Student Union is newly born. Tajze Johnson, a Doctor of Occupational erapy student who is expected to graduate in 2024, started the graduate chapter after he noticed the need for better Black representation. "e occupational therapy field is pre- dominantly made up of Caucasian women. When I came to MU's Occupational erapy program, it was eye-opening to see that there were other Black people in the program with me," said Johnson, who is the inaugural presi- dent of the chapter. "However, I noticed there wasn't clear space to have a conversation about it, so we created this graduate chapter. We simply wanted to create a place where African- American graduate students could go so they don't ever feel like they don't belong." While most of the original participants are from the Occupational erapy program, Johnson wants to make it clear that the graduate chapter of the Black Student Union is open to all students from graduate pro- grams — including MU's Physician Assistant, Business Administration, Physical erapy and other programs. Although new, the graduate chapter of the Black Student Union is active. In the last month, the organization helped to host a presentation by Dr. Khalilah Johnson — an assistant professor of Occupational Science at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. e following week, the graduate chapter held a meet-and-greet. While Johnson hopes to organize more events and workshops throughout the year, he said the bigger purpose is to leave a steady organization behind for future Black graduate students. "I want to help build a foundation for the next cohorts to come," he said. "Hopefully, when they come in, there will already be a strong organization in place so they immediately have a community they feel like they can bond with." To stay up-to-date on all MU events, visit https://www.methodist.edu/events/. About Methodist University Methodist University is an independent, four-year institution of higher education with approximately 2,000 students from across the U.S. and more than 50 countries. MU offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs (including doctoral-level options) on campus and online. MU has been named the "No. 1, Most Di- verse University in North Carolina," one of 10 "Must-Watch Universities in North America," features more than 100 student clubs and organizations, plus 20 NCAA intercollegiate sports (with nearly 40 team national champi- onships). To learn more about Methodist University, visit methodist.edu. Methodist University Black Student Union builds strong community among students a STAFF REPORT FEATURE Black Student Union undergrad president TiyeNandi Alexander (right) and BSU graduate president Tajze Johnson lead their chapters in hosting events to help create a community among Black MU students. e BSU also provides an important voice during discussions on how to make MU a more inclusive place for all students. (Photo courtesy Methodist University Marketing & Communications)

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Up & Coming Weekly - March 14, 2023