BSU hosts seventh annual Black Family Weekend

By Amanda Folsom
On April 8, 2014

The University of New Hampshire's Black Student Union hosted its seventh annual Black Family Weekend on campus Friday, April 4, through Sunday, April 6. This is one of the many events that the student organization puts on, and over 100 family members and friends of BSU students registered for the weekend's activities. 

The events were kicked off on Friday with an opening night dinner at 6:30 p.m., in the Huddleston Ballroom of Huddleston Hall. This gave a chance for families of students to become more familiar with the organization, and also acted as a warm welcoming to the Durham community. 

On Saturday families attended brunch from 9:45 to 11 a.m., and after that they spent most of the day engaged in discussions of societal topics related to the BSU. Discussions titled "Black Face is the New Black" and "Interracial Dating" brought up important issues that today's African American community often faces. BSU members and their families talked about the union's mission statement of introducing power and educating the entire UNH community in relation to black identity, along with cultural and social justices.

"Our goal is to promote awareness of African American culture and to continue social justice awareness as well," Ericka Dupervil, BSU's chief executive officer and UNH senior, said.

Being a member of BSU for four years and co-chair (along with Alisha Pina) for the past two, Dupervil is a strong believer in the organization's mission.

To close Saturday's events, BSU presented a 7 p.m. fashion show themed "50 Shades of Black" in the Granite State Room of the MUB. The show lasted for two hours and consisted of about 26 models of diverse backgrounds, all of them active students at UNH. The performance was sponsored by ASOS, an online fashion retail store, with clothing from a style segment called Kold Kash Kouture (also known as Kold$Kouture) and apparel by Jane Deaux. Families applauded as they sat and watched the modeling students strut their stuff down the runway. Dani DaCosta, former BSU member and senior family studies major, really enjoyed her role as one of the show's models.

"I love the fashion show because it allows students of various backgrounds and of different shapes and sizes to be represented on the stage, and everyone looked great," DaCosta said. "In addition, I learned a lot about different countries around the world that have native dark skinned citizens. It was very interesting."

Black Family Weekend 2014 came to an end with a closing brunch hosted on the first floor of Congreve Hall late Sunday morning, where families reunited one last time before departing. At the end of the successful, smooth running weekend, visitors could feel a strong sense of family bond as family members started going opposite ways. 

The organization's former program coordinator and current executive co-chairman, Alisha Pina, is getting ready to graduate this May along with Dupervil and had much to say about the organization.

"The best part about BSU is that I really get to be myself, coordinate events, and educate others about the black community," Pina said. "... I always feel like I'm back home while working with BSU. It's nice to see people engaged in conversation and I can't believe how fast the years have gone."

All of the weekend's events were sponsored by the university's Student Activity Fee Committee. There are currently 30-40 students who are active members of BSU, all working towards the same goal of awareness and that nice feel of a close-knit community.

"My favorite things about being a part of BSU are the environment and the atmosphere we have made for ourselves. We all share a family bond that we have created not only with BSU, but with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and the Diversity Support Coalition as a whole here at the university," Dupervil said.

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