The Dining Commons was radiating with music as students enjoyed a night of soul food. On February 7, California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB)’s Black Student Union (BSU) put on a Jamboree to celebrate African American culture.
As soon as students walked in the doors, it was clear that the BSU has taken over the Dining Commons. So many were dancing along as they picked up their plate of soul food and collected their raffle tickets. They were celebrating with delicious food and couldn’t wait for everyone else to join in!
“It’s about honoring black culture and history through food” said Keyiona Ritchie, the staff advisor for the BSU. Ritchie is the on campus creole support service advisor and helped organize the Jamboree. Her lovely smile was welcoming to all students entering the Dining Commons as she handed out raffle tickets for students to win amazing prizes for simply attending the event.
Some of the prizes offered were beautiful custom earrings, a CSUMB sweatshirt, custom designed notebooks with African American artwork, and a CSUMB backpack filled with school goodies. The BSU hoped that the addition of prizes would help get more people to attend the event. Luckily, many of the students were excited to hear that their meal came with a potential prize.
“We’re bringing cultures together. Not to be harsh or name names, but there isn’t much soul food represented on campus. It means a lot to actually dine and enjoy familiar comfort food” said BSU President Jeneice Smiley.
The President of the club was excited to see all of the students that were coming to the Dining Commons to enjoy some of her favorite comfort food. She explained that often times it can be difficult to not see your culture represented on a daily basis. Events like the Jamboree help the African American communities share in their culture and bring people closer together.
The food the Dining Commons did provide wasn’t too bad either. Their attempt at soul food had people excited about the event and sharing in different cultures. Plates of fried chicken, Mac n cheese, and collard greens were flying out of the Ignite station. It was so hard for people to get a plate because of its popularity that it was almost impossible for me to even get a picture of one!
“This is a Celebration of being African American and feeling proud about it,” said BSU treasurer Monique Fuqua, “there’s a certain sense of getting to be around people who are like you and the cultural things that remind me of home.”
Fuqua went on to express the same feelings that the President shares about wanting to feel more connected. To her, this event was a way for her to be around people who had the same backgrounds as her, which made it easier to connect with others.
The evening was a success as many students showed up to the Dining Commons to enjoy a delicious soul food meal. The playlist of music that the BSU put together brought students closer as a community and helped the night seem more unified as well.
It is the hope of the BSU to integrate African American culture more into CSUMB and make it a norm to appreciate one’s background. With the celebration of February as Black Hxstory month, they hope that students take the time to learn more about Black Hxstory and ways that they can help cultivate and facilitate a community of growth for minority students.
The BSU encourages you to continue attending their Black Hxstory Events on campus to learn more. Their showing of Freedom Riders in the student center is at 6p.m. on Feb 21.