Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Black Student Union brings intercultural awareness to MacArthur campus

The nighttime atmosphere on Thursday, October 7 in the Barnie’s at the Abacoa Town Center in Jupiter was invigorated thanks to the MacArthur Black Student Union’s Coffee House, as a large crowd of FAU students gathered to sip on free coffee provided by the club and listen to poetry and music performed by their classmates.

“Every culture has a communal environment,” said Angela Carter, president of the Black Student Union. “You can speak many different languages, but food and music can touch the core of people. We have so many people who are not familiar with black culture, and the Coffee House presents that culture.”

Outside, Carter and the executive coordinator, Ashley Martin, worked their way through the large crowd, energetically welcoming the increasing number of arriving students. Inside, vice president Sarah Marajh sang “A Whole New World,” with saxophone accompaniment from Chauncey Graham, co-founder of this club that has been named “Best Club on Campus” for two years straight.

Graham, currently the public relations officer for BSU, is proud of how successful the four Coffee Houses have been since the club first formed in February 2002.

“Overly successful, if I can say that,” Graham laughed. Given that he works at Barnie’s, “I’ve never been inside the store the entire time, so actually the first two Coffee Houses we had worked because it was so small. It was designed to get people to come out, to get acclimated to what we were, and that’s usually what happens.” However, a large turnout isn’t exactly a bad thing: “We usually get most of our new membership not from the Club Rush but from the Coffee House. It’s become our signature event,” he added.

It is not typical for the Coffee House to be the signature event, given that BSU is the most active club on campus, holding at least one event per month including celebrations for Kwanza and Dr. Martin Luther King Day, forum discussions, presentations from black poets and speakers, and last year’s Culture Fest that celebrated Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad and Tobago.

Currently, the club is working on an event with the Boca Campus branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

BSU has likely succeeded not only because it represents the black students at MacArthur, which make up about 11 percent of the 2,161 enrollment for the fall 2003/2004 semester (based on the demographic breakdown at the campus website http://www.fau.edu/northern/jupiter/about-fau/mac-facts.html). Because they open membership to all races, the BSU has created a diverse roster of more than 70 members, with many non-black students participating in the club, some as officers.

“BSU is not just about black culture,” commented Angela Carter. “It is intercultural.”

Chauncey Graham added, “We do things that promote cultural awareness. It’s not only for black students but for all students.”

As the Coffee House was wrapping up, the chatter outside was drowned out by the last song of the night, performed by a band of MacArthur students. Every student there, from a wide variety of races and backgrounds, was focusing on the music. With no one able to talk over the other, Carter wrote down her final thoughts, “This is what I’m talking about. Everyone’s enjoying this group that they might not usually.” She then turned to some of the departing students and shouted, “Thanks for coming!”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

Do you have something to say? Submit your comments below
All UNIVERSITY PRESS Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *