More than 30 students attended an April 13 meeting of the Black Student Association to reignite the organization that had failed in the past due to lack of involvement.
Dr. Julia Ballenger, associate professor in the School of Education, said in the past the BSA was very active and had a large membership, but it has not been active recently. The meeting was meant to spark interest in getting the organization back on track. Ballinger, who will serve as faculty adviser, said she was pleased with the turnout at the first meeting.
“We had a room full. We had students sitting on the floor,” she said. “The BSA has been very active in the past with a large membership. It is time to reactivate BSA.”
For the past couple of months, a committee made up of some of the campus’ African American employees has come together to oversee the resurrection of the group. Each of them felt a strong need to have this organization exist not only for African American students, but for all students.
“I’m excited about it,” said committee member and West Library circulation clerk June Johnson. “I want [the group] to be a voice on the campus for not [only] black students, but all students.”
The organization is open to all students at Wesleyan. Johnson said once the organization is back up and running, it will be very active.
“We’re looking at doing some mentoring programs with some local schools in the community,” Johnson said.
She said the group wants to be a part of the university’s new strategic plan and vision and feels that bringing the organization back to Wesleyan will accomplish that.
At the April 19 meeting, Ballenger and the other committee advisers explained the goals of the organization to a packed room of students. The bylaws and constitution of the organization were read and the club’s goal was discussed.
On April 24, a meeting to select the club’s president will take place in the Carter Conference room 12:15-1:15 p.m. Eventually, the president will select officers and begin working on the projects the club hopes to get accomplished. The attendees will also fill out membership forms where they listed what they planned to personally contribute to the club.
“One of our main focuses is to work with community organizations,” said committee adviser and coordinator of residence life Beatrice High. “As well as serve as a united front on the campus and get the students involved.”
High said she hopes the new incarnation of the club will have longevity and help create networking and job opportunities for students. Tim Bellmon, committee adviser and assistant men’s basketball coach, said he hopes this club leads to the emergence of other African-American organizations on campus.
“By there [not] being any historically black fraternities or sororities [on this campus] I think this is a great avenue to potentially bring some of those on campus,” Bellmon said.
The committee said while they are helping to organize things, once the president and officers are in place, it will be a student-run organization.
Chad Ballenger, a committee adviser and senior service desk analyst for Wesleyan’s Information Technology, said he is glad the club is starting again.
“I think this committee here, serving as advisers to the students will be a great benefit,” he said.
Chad Ballenger said he credits his mother with pushing to get the club started again.
Julia Ballenger said she looks forward to some of the clubs’ goals such as building leadership, building academic success and reaching out to the community. Ballenger said the club will start the bulk of its activities next Fall.