Graphic provided by Derian

Black people and their communities have made major contributions to the history and identity of what we call Canada, and every February, people across Canada participate in Black History Month to learn about and honour these contributions. Black History Month is a time to listen to stories, celebrate achievements, and learn about the many ways in which Black people have made Canada flourish.

To celebrate Black History Month at UBCO, there are events, including films, discussions, and art shows, which aim to recognize Black students, staff, and faculty. These events are important because they give Black people on campus the opportunity to come together and celebrate each other, but there must be continued recognition throughout the year, for the support of the Black community has no limit. So, as Black History Month comes to a close, we want students to be aware of the spaces and resources available to them beyond the month of February.

There are many Black Student Success (BSS) Services offered at UBCO which support Black students throughout their university careers. These services provide students with a community that allows them to succeed both in and out of the classroom. From clubs and events to scholarships and discussions, there truly is something for everyone, and we want to highlight some of the amazing resources available to students here.

If you are looking to explore your culture, make new friends, or even find a study space, the Black Student Association (BSA) is for you. The BSA is a club which aims to create inclusive spaces where Black students feel supported, empowered, and represented. 

The BSA offers a range of services and events designed to cater to the diverse needs and interests of the UBCO community. The executive team shared that their mission is to “foster an environment of self-discovery” and “showcase the multifaceted aspects of our shared experience” by engaging in discussion and debate sessions, hosting themed events, and showcasing the creative talents of their members.

“By filling in gaps and serving as a consistent resource, we strive to ensure that no student ever feels alone in their journey,” the BSA’s marketing team said. “Whether through social gatherings, educational workshops, or advocacy initiatives, our goal is to uplift and empower our members to thrive both academically and personally. By centring our discussions and teachings around the black lens, we ensure that our community's unique perspectives and experiences are valued and celebrated.”

You can join the BSA at the Black Student Lounge every Tuesday and Thursday from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Engineering, Management, Education (EME) Global Collegium in room 0252 to connect with fellow members and participate in events. Additionally, you can stay updated on their activities and initiatives by following their Instagram @bsa_ok.

For those who wish to tap into their creative side, Writing While Black (WWB) offers a space for Black writers at UBCO. WWB is a writing community for Black writers of all disciplines and skill levels, which aims to be a “catalyst for healing, collaboration, and growth, providing a space where Black writers can freely explore, express, and cultivate their writing potential.”

The organization is led by Stephanie Awotwi-Pratt, a UBCO graduate student. Her passion for equity, inclusion, and anti-racism has translated into a space to educate and amplify the voices of Black students, staff, and faculty at UBCO.

“Through sharing sessions, guided discussions, and meaningful dialogues, WWB engages with anti-racist pedagogies, challenging norms and biases prevalent in the world of writing.”¹

If you are interested in joining WWB, you can find more information on the Black Student Success Services page on the UBCO website.

Completing university is not an easy feat.  You are tasked with working, studying, networking, and so much more. It can be especially difficult to navigate university as a Black student, so it is crucial that you have a community to connect with as you face the many challenges and opportunities that come your way. 

While it is important to celebrate your identity and achievements during Black History Month, you must remember to continue those celebrations into the rest of the year. In addition to the previously mentioned organizations, there are so many more resources and programs available to Black students at UBCO. 

There is a large community of people who want to see you thrive, and regardless of the support you need, there is something here for you.