The Black Students’ Union is celebrating Black History Month by sponsoring a plethora of events and programs throughout the month, including speakers, movies and award ceremonies. In addition to providing social opportunities, BSU has other goals, like spreading knowledge about African American history and working to promote health and health care in the community.
The centerpiece of this month’s calendar is the UR Path To Better Health 2007, according to Black Students’ Union President Marquis Harrison. It is co-sponsored by La Unidad Latina and Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc., Omega Chapter.
It is a health exposition that will be held on Saturday, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Frederick Douglass Building, with registration beginning at 9 a.m. The exposition is the first of its kind to be held at Rochester, and Harrison hopes that its success will lead to future iterations.
The exposition will host numerous community organizations and over 30 health care providers that will lead workshops, providing information about HIV/AIDS, heart disease, diabetes and other health problems. Net Life will lead a workshop on how to get health insurance.
“[One of the] goals of this day is to be able to provide access to health care professionals to give information, check the status of certain health conditions and allow members of the community to leave with things they can pass on to others,” Harrison said.
There will also be a focus on the prevention of violence.
“Violence is a big problem here in Rochester for young people,” Harrison said.
Harrison made it clear that his focus is on minority groups in the Rochester area.
“This is a big initiative to bring the community here to the campus to focus on health disparities in the black and Latino communities,” Harrison said.
However, he pointed out that the exposition is not focused solely on those two specific ethnic groups.
“We’re focused generally on underrepresented minorities and those living in poverty,” Harrison said. “We think that health care is a huge disparity in those communities.”
Harrison has high expectations for the event, which he hopes will draw people together from a number of different backgrounds.
He hopes to draw a few hundred people, including as many college students as possible.
“The goal of [the event] is to first bring minorities from the collegiate community, Rochester community and high schools in the city together,” Harrison said.
BSU is hosting many other events as well, and the climax will be the third annual Black Tie Affair, “Harlem Nights.” The formal will be held at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24. It will be off-campus for the first time because it “outgrew” its previous location, the Meliora, due to its past success, according to Harrison. The new host is the DoubleTree Hotel and transportation will be provided.
The night will serve to celebrate and recognize black achievements, and a number of community leaders will receive awards.
The Black Tie Affair Date Auction will be held on Thursday at 8 p.m. in Havens Lounge. Suitors will bid on dates to bring to the formal using cash or URos, and proceeds will go to charity.
Another event this month is Black Tuesday, which has occurred on every Tuesday this month. It takes place from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Havens Lounge and consists of visual presentations of black history.
“The purpose is to educate the campus on different facts about black history,” Harrison said.
In conjunction with Black Tuesday, the University bookstore will feature books about black history.
There are many other events left this month, including the BSU Poetry Jam, featuring Def. Jam Poet Georgia Me on Wednesday, Feb. 21 and Game Night, hosted by S.A.L.S.A on Friday, Feb. 23.
Wrobel is a member of the class of 2010.