Midterm Review

No, I don’t mean the dreaded papers and exams that we just put behind us. I mean it’s over halfway through the semester so we’ll reflect on BSU happenings so far this Spring.
As a centerpiece of our annual programming, we presented Black History Month 2014, “A Celebration of Blackness.” According to several faculty members and students, BHM 2014 was on point. We kicked off our heritage month on Claiming Williams Day by facilitating a Q&A with renowned poet of Striver’s Row, Joshua Bennett. The next day, we facilitated the thought-provoking interdisciplinary panel “Exploring the Implications of the Black Body.” The event featured Professors Nimu Njoya, Sandra Burton, and James Manigault-Bryant, as well as visiting visual activist Zanele Muholi. On Sunday, February 9th, we hosted Dr. Ibrahim X. Kendi to present a lecture on Revitalizing the Black Campus Movement. The following week, Professor Leslie Brown expanded on that revitalization in a dinner lecture on “Black Power in the Civil Rights Era”.
On Thursday February 20th, students and faculty enjoyed a dynamite Soul Food Dinner prepared by guest chef Velma McAdoo. After the dinner, we fought the -itis and waddled over to Griffin 3, where scholar-activist Darnell Moore seamlessly blended theory and application in his lecture “An Interrogation of the Black Presence in the Queer Project”. The next day, we kept the food coming by cohosting a soulful Shabbat Dinner with WCJA. Noting that man does not live by bread alone, we hosted “Taste and See” A Celebration of Black Religious Traditions on Saturday, February 22nd in Thompson Memorial Chapel. This comprehensive church service featured a sermon by Rev. Dr. Shelley D. Best, music by Minister Troy Oliver and the choir Integrity, and selections by the Williams College Gospel Choir.
On Monday, February 24th, we featured Rika Shabazz ’17 for BSU Story Time. We enjoyed ice cream, cupcakes, and her funny, powerful story. On Friday, February 28th, we packed Dodd Living Room and showcased some of the hottest talent on campus for our annual event Ruby Lounge. Although not technically during the month of February, we closed our heritage month on March 1st with the cosponsored Sankofa Step Show After-party in Goodrich Hall.

We also hosted a BSU WCJA Jazz Party on March 15th. The Black Student Union and the Williams College Jewish Association teamed up to host one of the livest, classiest turn ups of the year. The Williams College Jazz Quartet killed it from 10pm to 1am in Spencer Living Room while students danced in styles ranging from swing to the Wobble.

We’ve gotten back to Sunday general meetings after a break for BHM. On Sunday March 9th, we discussed Black Hair at Williams—how to thrive here from the roots on up. Then on Sunday March 16th we welcomed representatives from ACE to discuss representation and collaboration between our groups.

Lastly, The Williams College Black Student Union is happy to announce that it is holding its first Black Solidarity Conference! Explore “Black Leadership in the Modern Age” from Friday April 11th to Sunday April 13th! The conference will highlight different facets of black leadership both in the past and the present. We will feature activist and intellectual Ms. Angela Y. Davis as our keynote speaker.

See the full schedule of events here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ruiQC5y48Forkd42kKqSYSTrUUZH4rQTPdmTVmdINc4/edit?usp=sharing

Register by April 8th 2014 at 5pm using this link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1jH9znSHznTmn24jL4mPrA0Ddzp2XRoHlF4QaCctmA3M/viewform

Enjoy the remainder of Spring Break everyone,
Todd Hall ‘16
BSU Historian

A Snapshot of Fall 2013

Although it’s been a hot minute since material has been posted here, the Williams College BSU has been going strong. Below are a few highlights from Fall 2013.

We kicked off the year with our annual BBQ in Morley Circle, attracting students and faculty with the fumes of deliciousness. Qadir Forbes, Tre’dez Colbert, and Ahmad Greene threw down on the grill, serving up hot dogs and hamburgers. For many students though, conversation was the main course. There was much catching up from the summer and many new introductions as students from all class years plus a few faculty members mixed and mingled.

On September 29th, Dr. Joyce Foster, head of Academic Resources, graced our general meeting with her knowledge and expertise about how to excel by navigating the wealth of academic resources that Williams has to offer. Dr. Foster explained the procedures for peer tutoring, the Math and Science Resource Center, the Writing Workshop, and special accommodations. She debunked the myth of effortless perfection and emphasized the opposite—the top performers are the ones avidly getting help. The U took advantage of her presence, engaging in a dialogue about study habits and where to go for all academic needs. Everyone, from the first-year students to the seniors, gleaned valuable information from this meeting.

On October 3rd, we packed Rice House for our Student Faculty Mixer. Thirty-seven students and eight faculty members representing the Davis Center, Academic Resources, the Dean’s Office, the Africana Department, and the English Department attended the event. In an interesting twist on speed dating, students and faculty shifted between timed conversations. After the organized chaos of the main activity, people broke into side conversations. The event offered an opportunity for people who might not talk otherwise to chat in a relaxed, informal setting.

Homecoming 2013 proved to be tiring  in the best way–lots of planning, preparation, and events coming to fruition plus tons of eating/merriment. After grueling hours of cleaning and frying chicken, boiling green beans, preparing macaroni & cheese, and baking corn bread, we served food to hungry students and alumni at the BSU/SOCA/WASO tailgate. Literally within minutes students and alums devoured every morsel. Later that day, the BSU and the Williams Black Alumni Network (WBAN) hosted a Black Alumni Mixer. With great turnout from students and alumni, we mingled in a speed-chatting activity and gained valuable contacts. Laye Samoura won the networking contest by getting over 20
contacts. Special thanks to Bryan Thomas ’12 of WBAN and Adrianna DeGazon ’16 for their hard work in coordinating the event.


If you missed any of these events, don’t fret. Black History Month 2014 is around the corner, and the BSU has been grinding to organize programming. Stay tuned; I will be posting a preview of what is to come in the month of February in the near future.


Todd Hall ’16

BSU Historian

BSU and Rice House Organizational and Institutional Memory

The 2012-13 BSU Board would like to analyze Rice House to obtain a more thorough and comprehensive understanding of how this space factors into present students’ experiences and past alum experience here at Williams. Among these will be how the space was used, what it meant and what perhaps was missing from Rice that you wish future students had or think were missing from your time.The board will assess your responses, and we will do our best to integrate all opinions in a formal report that will be discussed at a general meeting in the near future. Also, if their are any other experiences from your experience with the BSU in general, or advice to future U members that you wish to share as part of organizational memory, feel free to share these as well.

All responses can be sent to dp2@williams.edu with the subject line “BSU Institutional Memory”.

One Love,
Don S. Polite Jr ’13


Black History Month Programming

Black History Month Programming