Brown, Bold, and Brilliant: Bethel’s Black Student Union Amplifies Voices and Stories

Get to know the heartbeat behind Bethel’s Black Student Union in this Q&A with BSU President Meshe Ford ’24.

By Katie Johnson ’19, content specialist

February 24, 2023 | 2 p.m.

Meet Bethel's Black Student Union!

Meet Bethel's Black Student Union!

“Create, motivate, and empower from within.” 

The tagline for Bethel’s Black Student Union (BSU) perfectly describes what the United Cultures of Bethel subgroup is all about. Their website goes on to say, “Since 2014, the Black Student Union has existed to be a safe haven for students at Bethel University identifying with the African diaspora.” BSU is committed to providing a space for Black students to be themselves, receive and offer support, and empower one another all year long. Championing the cause is BSU President Meshe Ford ’24, who shared her heart for the Black Student Union and its members in this Q&A.

In what ways is BSU a safe haven for students who identify with the African diaspora?

Providing a safe haven has been a mission for BSU in a variety of ways. Creating a space where students can come to feel comfortable in their skin with no apologies and no limitations has been amazing to witness. We have done so by having open and honest conversations about important topics that have shifted our minds, hearts, and souls. We are individuals destined to be change-makers in our community, and at BSU, we work to create a space where we can support one another to reach our goals.

How have you personally been able to serve Black students at Bethel?

I have been able to use my voice and resources to be able to be an advocate for the Black students at Bethel University. By doing so, I have seen how many students are using their impact to make a difference at Bethel—whether it is from cultural shifts in the organization to shifts from within to heal any traumas that have prevented students from being the best version of themselves. I would like to take credit, but in reality, it is a family effort. BSU is a family that is continuously growing and developing leaders who will change our world for the better.

What do you want readers to know about BSU?

BSU is an inclusive space where we like use our resources to make an impact on the larger community as a whole. We are a group that has collaborated with several organizations to host events that bring awareness to current issues, have community celebrations, partner with STRIVE mentorship, volunteer, and much more. We are presented with opportunities such as being invited to the Kente Summit, collaborating with other universities at BSU, and hosting alumni events. We continue to make connections that will enhance our own growth and the growth of others.

How has BSU impacted your Bethel experience?

Entering my freshman year of college at Bethel, I was unsure of what to expect due to the events that were happening in 2020 with COVID-19 and the cultural tension that had plagued the entire nation. I knew only a few individuals and had yet to find a space where I felt like I belonged. Coming from a diverse background, Bethel was a cultural shock for me. I was uncertain about how I could use my abilities to create a difference. It wasn’t until I was introduced to BSU that I knew I was not alone and that I had people who could support me in this journey.

What motivated you to become the Black Student Union President?

What motivated me to become president was being able to witness and experience the impact BSU has on the hearts and lives of many including myself, through the lens of being the vice president previously. My biggest motivation is the relationships that I am building, amplifying our voices and stories, and creating change for a more inclusive environment and culture for everyone. My goal and theme for this year are to embrace the three B’s—brown, bold, and brilliant—which in every aspect we are.

What do you want incoming Bethel students to know about BSU?

I would challenge incoming Bethel students to discover BSU for themselves and to get involved to capture the true experience. I encourage the students to utilize BSU as an avenue to express who they are, share their stories, and use BSU as a platform to motivate and empower students at Bethel to become the best possible leader they can be. BSU is a space to uplift, highlight, and support Black students at Bethel.

Meet Bethel's Black Student Union!

Explore United Cultures of Bethel

United Cultures of Bethel (UCB) is a department within Bethel Student Government that exists to support students in their cultural identities, enrich cultural sensitivity, and appreciate cultural similarities and differences all while being concerned about the needs of the community.

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