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Black Student Union alumni organize future reunion

Black Student Union alumni organize future reunion

BSU volunteers at the reception | COURTESY OF SHAWN DAILEY

Alumni of Kenyon’s Black Student Union (BSU) convened on campus to organize their 55th reunion this past weekend during a winter retreat. Thirteen former members of BSU were on campus, including six alumni who are currently members of Kenyon’s Alumni Council, which also met over the weekend.  

The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) has organized several reunions in tandem with the BSU over the years, including the milestone 50th anniversary in 2019. According to Associate Vice President for Alumni & Parent Engagement & Annual Giving Shawn Dailey P’24 P’25, “Kenyon alumni also volunteer to plan class and affinity reunions, organize regional alumni events as Alumni of Color Mentors, [offer] career advice and to help keep their classmates connected to Kenyon and each other through the class agent program, among other roles.”

On Friday night, BSU alumni set up tables in Peirce Dining Hall to hear from students about their experiences at the college, share the prerequisites of being an alumni volunteer and answer any questions they might have about life after Kenyon.

“The value of a small liberal arts college is that, if you reach out to an alum, in all likelihood they’re going to respond to you,” President Julie Kornfeld said in an interview with the Collegian. “All of these alumni have really reinforced that.”

Members of Alumni Council and the BSU Reunion Committee met on Saturday morning to discuss updates from ODEI and learn more about the College’s bicentennial events. Thomas S. Turgeon Professor of Drama and Film and Chair of American Studies Jon Tazewell ‘84, along with students in his class DRAM 291: Special Topic: August Wilson joined the volunteers for lunch to share their work on August Wilson’s play “Seven Guitars.” BSU volunteers met that afternoon to plan the 55th BSU reunion, including a discussion on how to involve current BSU members. According to Assistant Director of ODEI Sasha Pauline Fanny-Holston ’11, this weekend was one of many planning sessions to come. 

“If current students are interested in taking part in the reunion, they can either reach out to the BSU president, Mwï Epalle ’24, or they can reach out to me. The alums are very interested in connecting with current students and being of service in any way they can,” Fanny-Holston wrote in an email to the Collegian. “The student body can look forward to connecting with alums and learning about Kenyon history from a Black student perspective. It will definitely add to the fun of homecoming weekend and hopefully get students involved.”

Volunteers were also invited to a cocktail reception with Kornfeld and members of her senior staff at the home of Will and Darnell Heywood ’94 P’27.

“[Kenyon alumni] are just full of enthusiasm for the college and the impact it’s had on their life and their friends, and they love sharing with me memories of,” Kornfeld said. “It’s not something I’ve ever experienced at any other institution; walking into an alumni event and feeling that kind of energy and passion for their place.”

The BSU reunion is scheduled for Homecoming Weekend on Sept. 27 and 28.

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