February is recognized nationwide as Black History Month, and CSU celebrates with four weeks of events.
Themed "Definitions of Blackness: Embrace the Color in COLORado State University," the month-long celebration begins with an opening ceremony today at noon in the Lory Student Center basement. The theme is a play on the state's motto: "Colorful Colorado."
Contrasting the University of Colorado's recent events involving hate letters to black students and other events regarding minority students, CSU's Black Student Services office wants to portray a different image of Colorado.
"One of our goals this year is to convey that CSU has a different environment, that CSU embraces diversity," said Will Wooten , president of Black Definition Student Organization. "It's not something that is spread throughout Colorado."
The first week is a display of black history, which is "deeply rooted in religion," said Wooten, a junior political science major.
Week two is themed around politics, with a keynote speech from Jeffrey Johnson , of the "Jeffrey Johnson Chronicles" (a documentary on Black Entertainment Television).
The speech, "Campus Activism 101: Building an Effective Student Organization," will help all students, not just black students.
"African-American history is American history, so everyone should celebrate it," Wooten said. "All student organizations can listen and learn what it takes to build a strong student organization."
The third week of the month is Greek week, sponsored by the five black Greek chapters. The week ends on Feb. 18 with a basketball tournament to raise money for sickle cell anemia.
Last year, the same event raised $1,000 for diabetes.
"We invite all Greeks, but it is open to anyone for participation," Wooten said. "We want to continue the event, but change the element every year.
This year, the group chose sickle cell anemia because of its connection with the black community and its local importance.
"It is very prevalent in African-American communities," Wooten said. "Some CSU students are also affected by it, so it will be nice to give back to a local community."
The month ends with a week of black entertainment. Black Hands Drumming group, a musical group out of Denver, will perform on Feb. 20.
In conjunction with Hillel, a "dance-a-thon" for AIDS in Africa will twirl in the Cherokee Park Ballroom of the LSC on Feb. 22.
"We want to reach all of Colorado," Wooten said. "If we reach as many people as we can, it will be a success for us."
Bobby Rainbolt, who is a part of campus ministry, said he will attend some of the events this month.
"(The events) allow people a chance to be a part of a culture that's not their own, have a better understanding of what those people have gone through and who they are," Rainbolt said.
This Week's Events:
* Friday: Movie of the Week: "The Gospel," noon, LSC
* Friday: "Ghanaian Textile Inspiration," 4 p.m., Gustafson Gallery, Gifford Building
* Feb. 8: "Meet CSU's Black Faculty/Staff and Graduate Students," noon, Longs Peak Room, LSC
* Feb. 8: Jeffery Johnson, 6 p.m. LSC Theatre