Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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Associated Students President Chimezie O. Ebiriekwe (second from the right) and Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Rivera (far right) at the opening of the Black Resource Center. Associated Students President Chimezie O. Ebiriekwe (second from the right) and Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Rivera (far right) at the opening of the Black Resource Center.
 


SDSU Introduces New Black Resource Center

SDSU’s new Black Resource Center, founded through a student-led initiative, was introduced during a grand opening celebration.
By La Monica Everett-Haynes
 

“I am continually amazed by our students and their passion to contribute to the success of each other.”

San Diego State University has opened a Black Resource Center (BRC) to serve as a space for students, faculty and staff to congregate, collaborate and cultivate a unified sense of community.
 
Hundreds of SDSU administrators, students, alumni and community members attended the grand opening opening under the theme of “Black Excellence: Past, Present and Future.”

SDSU President Sally Roush spoke to the importance of the center, which was established through a student-led initiative.

“I am continually amazed by our students and their passion to contribute to the success of each other,” Roush said. “The Black Resource Center will be a living testament to that passion.”
 
The BRC also  honors and celebrates the historic and contemporary contributions of individuals representing the African diaspora, including students who led the initiative resulting in its creation.
 
“I see this space as a safe haven for black thought and a canvas for black creativity,” said Christian Onwuka, an SDSU business major, who was involved in the building’s planning and design.
 
“The Black Resource Center will serve as a place for students to reflect on what they desire, with no worry, pressure or bias,” Onwuka said. “A home away from home; we will let the BRC be the foundation on which our community stands and grows.”
 

Continuing a legacy

In 2016, members of SDSU’s Afrikan Student Excellence Council and other students brought forth the idea for such a center to then-SDSU President Elliot Hirshman, Vice President for Student Affairs Eric Rivera and other SDSU administrators.
 
Hirshman was on board with the plan and committed to the BRC’s creation.
 
The center aligns with the SDSU’s strategic mission to help ensure that students are academically and socially supported in ways that encourage retention, persistence and graduation. Housed in SDSU’s Division of Student Affairs and an initiative of the division’s strategic plan, the BRC will also be home of the Harambee Scholars Program. Through programming and support, the center will promote scholarship, foster leadership and aid students in their personal and professional growth.
 
“When we as black people have an opportunity to collaborate and our own place to congregate, it builds into our mindset the promotion of black excellence,” said Associated Students President Chimezie O. Ebiriekwe.

“I define black excellence as a presence of achievement within the black community that makes us proud of who we are and what we have accomplished and lets us know what we can achieve here as a unified force. Increased support for our black students means increased retention for our black students.”
 
Speaking to examples of “black excellence” at SDSU, Roush spoke of Lela and Henrietta Goodwin, the first African-Americans to attend SDSU. Henrietta Goodwin became the first African-American graduate in 1913.
 
“This Black Resource Center demonstrates how our students are continuing our tradition of black leadership and excellence,” said Roush. “Our tradition of black excellence stretches back more than a century.”
 
Roush also gave a nod to Hal Brown, a 1959 graduate who received an honorary doctorate degree from SDSU. Brown was president of SDSU’s first African-American fraternity and a star basketball and baseball player.

“This is a drastic difference to when I graduated in 1959,” Brown said, noting that 25 black students were studying at SDSU at the time. “We’ve come a long way, under a hard struggle, out of a lot of blood and a lot of hardship.
 

Upcoming Events

Starting in March, the BRC will host a number of community receptions. Other programming, held in collaboration with partners throughout the Divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs, will focus on student’s health and well-being, academic success, leadership development and career preparation.
 
Monday, March 12
BRC Tabling Fair
12-1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 13
Career Services Presentation
12-1 p.m.

Wednesday, March 14
Relax with Baxter and Dr. Zemed Berhe
12-1 p.m.

Thursday, March 15
The Road to Guidance: Giving Back to our Youth
12-1 p.m.

Friday, March 16
Health Services Dietitian Presentation
12:30-1:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 17
BRC Open House for Alumni and Community Members
5 p.m. (program begins at 5:30 p.m.)