Feb 172009
Authors: Erin Smith

Students and faculty came together in the Lory Student Center Tuesday to help introduce and better connect each other with CSU’s black community.

In conjunction with Black History Month, Black Student Services and Black Definition hosted the annual meet and greet, which is designed to encourage students to interact and get to know black faculty and staff on campus.

Marcus Elliot, interim director for Black Student Services, said that the event gives students across campus the opportunity to get to know the diverse staff at CSU.

“It’s also important as an opportunity for staff to see each other, since they are so spread out across campus,” Elliot said.

Many of those attending the reception said the low number of black faculty and staff working at CSU makes it important to have the annual meet and greet.

According to CSU Institutional Research’s Facts at a Glance, in the 2008-’09 academic year the population of black tenured faculty at CSU is 1.4 percent.

Elliot said the event helps build a sense of community.

“If you start to look at the percentage of students on campus that are black, and you look at the percentage of faculty or graduate students, you can think that you are the only person,” said Angela Gwynn, an open-option advisor at the Center for Advising and Student Achievement.

“To see that there are professors and people in higher education getting graduate degrees is really important to undergraduate students,” Gwynn said.

Blanche Hughes, the vice president of Student Affairs, agreed, saying it is important for there to be an event where students could meet and connect with black graduate students, administrators and faculty at CSU because they may not be all too visible on campus.

Sarah Abbey, a junior mechanical engineering major said that the reception acts as an event outside Black Student Services that could draw in someone who is nervous about visiting the office.

Abbey, who also works for Asian/Pacific American Student Services, said, “(The reception) opens it up for black students and also to other students.”

Visitors at the reception were treated to sandwiches for lunch and participated in networking activities designed to break the ice and meet new people.

Freda Whaley, an administrative assistant for Black Student Services, said that race has less to do with the reception than one might think.

“A lot of people don’t know a lot of people on campus and this is a great way for people to interact and get to know each other,” Whaley said.

Staff writer Erin Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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