Finding a group in which students feel they belong remains an integral part of the college experience. Various student unions strive to create these groups for all students.
One of these organizations is the Queer-Trans Student Union, whose meetings take place on Tuesdays 9-10 p.m. in the LGBTQ+ Resource Center in Room 427 of the Bowen-Thompson Student Union.
QTSU Vice President Emily Latham discussed a typical meeting.
“We start with introductions so everyone feels comfortable and the executive board initiates what we’re doing that night, whether it be conversations or game nights, and general members continue forward,” she said.
Latham also mentioned upcoming events the group feels most excited for.
“Queer Carnival with the Multicultural Greek Council and Trunk or Treat with other multicultural organizations are coming up. Queer Carnival is always a huge hit among students and Trunk or Treat is a new development,” she said.
Latham mentioned what she wants students to think of when they think of QTSU.
“It is a place where people, especially those in the queer and trans community, can feel safe. We are always striving for a loving and safe environment,” she said.
QTSU is not the only organization striving for such an environment. Xavi Boes, president of the Latino Student Union, spoke on similar goals.
“When people think of the Latino Student Union, I want them to think initially a safe space for Latinx students but then a safe space for all,” he said.
With meetings every other Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Room 314 of the Union, Boes said they have structured and topical meetings.
“We officially start the meeting with an icebreaker to build community within our safe space. After that, we go through some announcements about upcoming events and then segway into our topics we discuss for the night,” he said.
Boes also showed excitement about upcoming events for LSU.
“We are working with Undergraduate Student Government and many other multicultural organizations to put on a week full of events leading up to homecoming. The one I am most excited for is our event named Dia de Los Muertos, ‘Our Culture is Not Your Costume,’” he said.
The event focuses on cultural appropriation and what it means in relation to an incident that occurred last year, where nine members of Pi Kappa Alpha posted photos of themselves in racially insensitive costumes on social media with the caption “your culture is my costume.”
Boes continued to elaborate on the meaning of the event and clarified that there was no ill intent behind the name, stating it focuses more on a learning experience.
“It’s not in the form of retaliation but in education to teach others on what it is,” he said.
Black Student Union is coming off a busy spring semester full of advocating for the change of the Gish Film Theater — now the BGSU Film Theater. BSU is looking forward to celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary this year with events such as its annual family reunion, a block party on Sept. 19 at Mac Beach and a gala.
“Our goal this semester is to honor and carry out our mission to create an environment of unity, scholarship, diversity and political awareness (among) the black community and overall community at BGSU,” junior and BSU Political Action Chair Jonae Williams said.
Another organization that has events ahead is the up-and-coming Asian Student Union. The founder of ASU, Meghan McKinley, discussed more on what can be expected of them in terms of meetings.
“We want to make sure Asian American students have that space to hang out because that never happens on campus. We are waiting to see what has the most interest moving forward,” she said.
Other ideas on events for ASU to host were trips to Toledo’s various Asian markets, monthly movie nights and collaborations with other multicultural groups.
McKinley discussed an upcoming collaborative event currently being developed, which will be run by ASU and host other diverse organizations.
“The biggest thing we are planning right now is a multicultural arts festival for the spring semester. We are going to involve every multicultural organization on campus, including queer groups, Greek life and more. We want a place for these students to showcase their artwork and creativity,” she said.
McKinley provided insight on what she wants BGSU students to associate with the Asian Student Union.
“If I had to think of one word, it would be solidarity. This is student run. Nobody is going to do this for us but us,” she said.
Another organization standing in solidarity with Asian students is the Indian Student Association. Shubham Sundriyal, president of ISA, described the Asian Student Union’s idea to associate and collaborate with all student unions.
“India stands with a slogan of ‘Vasudeva Kutumbakam,’ which is a Sanskrit phrase meaning, ‘the whole world is a family.’ This is what ISA also stands for,” he said.
Typically meeting on the second and fourth Saturdays of every month at the ISA desk on the fourth floor of the Union, their meetings involve planning for upcoming events.
“ISA meetings generally involve cabinet members discussing all the things primarily related to the upcoming event hosted by the association. We also plan the dates for other meetings,” he said.
The biggest event the organization holds, Diwali Mela, takes place in late October. Sundriyal elaborated on what they are looking forward to specifically.
“Every year, we work really hard to make that event a success. A lot of attention is always given to the performances, decoration, and food so that we can give an apt glimpse of India's colors,” he said.
Students with questions about these organizations or any of the other student unions can contact the Office of Multicultural Affairs or the LGBTQ+ Resource Center.