February is dedicated to Black History Month, and the Diversity and Inclusion Office is hosting several exciting events on campus to commemorate it.
To start the month, the DI Office threw a “Black History Month Kick-off” on Feb. 1 in the Tyler van Dusen Rotunda. They played a game of bingo centered around historical Black figures and cultural customs, and then followed it with discussions about social identity in America.
The Dunning Memorial Chapel also honored the month with a special service for Black History Month on Feb. 5. Guest Pastor Lorenzo led the sermon.
“For our students who identify as Black, our Black History Month events are ways of validating their presence here on campus to show them that they belong,” said Director of Diversity and Inclusion Jonathan Glenn. “For our non-Black students, it gives them the opportunity to learn more about culture they may not ever have had the opportunity to access.”
In his position on campus, Glenn’s goal is to “unify Alma College students as a whole to see the greatness of difference.”
He understands that Alma College students are “deeply connected with a ton of stuff” on campus so he must be “okay if they don’t have the energy to come to my programs.” Instead, he aims to “find ways to connect with students on their level” and “come to them,” said Glenn.
Even if you missed the first couple of events, the DI Office is still hosting a few more throughout the month. For example, there is a BHM Documentary night and snacks on Feb. 9 from 6-7:30 PM in the Heather Room.
Additionally, the week of Feb. 13 is “BHM Spirit Week.” Each evening, the DI Office has an event dedicated to different aspects of Black culture in various locations of Tyler van Dusen and Alma.
“The Spirit Week is actually led by our student organization called the Black Student Union,” said Glenn. “It is a week of celebrations of Black culture.”
One day is Treat Tuesday on Feb. 14 from 6 to 7:15PM in the CSO, featuring “historical Black desserts,” said Glenn. Another is “A Night in Black Culture” on Feb. 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM in the Opera House, where students are encouraged to dress up and enjoy “traditional soul food,” music and dancing.
“I just really hope that people have fun and feel empowered and learn something,” said Lauryn Bishop (‘23). Bishop is the student social media coordinator for the DI Office as well as a member of the Black Student Union.
“Work-wise I’m making all of the flyers and posting about it on social media,” said Bishop. To her, Black History Month is “remembering history that has been forgotten… and what isn’t being talked about.”
Lastly, the DI Office is holding The Reparations Project on Feb. 23 from 5:30 to 7 PM at the Alma College Chapel.
“The church along with the Justice League of greater Lansing has this thing called the Reparations Project where they’re connecting with the Presbyterian Church on the hilling of the history of slavery,” said Glenn. “I really don’t know what to expect so I’m really eager to hear what they talk about and see if it actually works.”
These events hosted on and around campus are meant to be celebrated by all and acknowledge the accomplishments of Black Americans throughout US history. It is a time to recognize, honor and reflect upon Black culture and the contributions they ha ve made to America despite their many struggles.
The Diversity and Inclusion Office encourages everyone to get involved and to follow @alma_ diversity on Instagram for more information.