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We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Black Student Collective? What's that?

February 24, 2023

Hey readers, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Sam and Isaiah to chat about the Black Student Collective.

Sam is the president of the Black Student Collective and a fourth-year Legal Studies student who prefers the pronouns she/her. She is the Chair of the OTSU's Board, the Board Director for Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, an Event Coordinator for the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities, Vice President of the BIPOC Club, Tour Guide at the Registrar's Office, Peer Leader and Ambassador. PHEW, oh, I have no idea when this girl sleeps or finds time to breathe. She is, nevertheless, one of the loveliest individuals I've ever known, and she is so outgoing and driven that she not only participates in school activities but also watches out for, and cares about others.

Next, Isaiah is the Director of Events, and he/him uses the pronouns he/him. He has a minor in criminology and justice and is currently in his fourth year of forensic psychology. His interests include reading, writing, cooking, and baking. He hopes to complete his undergraduate degree and maybe pursue a Ph.D. in forensic psychology in addition to attending law school. Given that Isaiah is one of the most vibrant and energizing people I know, his role as director of events is one of the most ideal, as events will always be engaging.

I sat down to interview both students; so, if you're wondering what Black Student Collective is, here are Sam and Isaiah to explain a little bit. 

What is the Black Student Collective, and what are its missions?

Isaiah: The Black Student Collective, is a group that's main goal is to support and collaborate with other black student-centred clubs around campus to foster engagement, inclusivity, and excellence in student life on campus. Even though we do have our own events and goals we do wish to highlight other campus BIPOC-related clubs on campus and the events and initiatives that they are doing. When we first founded the club it was our goal to have a Black Student Union that could help create safe spaces on campus as well as promote the safe inclusive spaces that other clubs create and foster all for the benefit of BIPOC students on campus. Even though we are a black student-focused club we want to foster inclusion of everyone BIPOC as well as non-POC students in order to create a safe space and community for all students.

What inspired you to create the club, and what was the driving force behind it?

Sam: The inspiration to make the club was how well-received the BIPOC Club was. However, the driving force is definitely the lack of a central Black Club or Association on campus. There are so many Black clubs on campus like the Caribbean Student Association, Black Physicians of Tomorrow, African Student Union, National Society of Black Engineers and the BIPOC Club. The goal was to create a space on campus where any Black person on campus would be able to feel a sense of belonging, especially if they don't feel they belong to any of the niche groups the other Black clubs we have. 

You recently re-branded with a new logo. Are there any particular or important meanings associated with the various symbols? 

Sam: Our new logo was drawn by Nya Popo, a friend of mine from high school. It was originally for our Black History Month Committee but we didn't end up using it. The first calls attention to Black resilience as seen in many social justice and civil rights movements. The fist is also the trunk of the tree which represents growth, wisdom and prosperity. The black part of the tree is both an afro and the leaves of the tree. This highlights the importance of Black hair and how it is often politicized in White spaces however hair is also one of our unique features that connects people across the Black diaspora. I selected the colour and Tania our current Co-Director of Communications (Social Media) changed the background to purple and added the text I'm the logo. Purple represents royalty and luxury. Oftentimes, when Black History comes up, our history is told as a generalized tale that centers on enslaved people. Black History and our diaspora are infinitely more than that, especially considering that there were and are Black royalty, inventions, culture, knowledge etc. The colour purple represents that.

Do you have your expectations for the club regarding events and activities for the following year?

Isaiah: This year it is our hope to hold our first Black Excellence Gala, this is one of the biggest events we are planning this year and we have been hoping to do something like this for over a year now. We are going to be selling club sweaters to help fundraise for our year-end gala. We have been working on these sweaters for the whole year as a means to help us find this event. 

This event would highlight the core values of our club, the celebration of Black excellence but also to bring people together and to collaborate with the various clubs in support of Black students and youth.

What has been one of the most memorable moments since this organization began?

Isaiah: To date, one of the most memorable moments, since this organization began, was our first in-person event which was a movie night. We had a pretty good turn out and this was the first time we got to interact with our general members as well as promote our club by getting more general members because when we first started it was during the lockdown and we only had virtual events.

Have you learned anything new through creating this club and performing these roles?

Isaiah: As the Director of Events, I have learned a lot about the event planning process. There are a lot of moving parts to planning and executing an event, whether that be managing funding, filling out forms, or communicating with vendors and suppliers. This job has taught me a lot about event planning as well as assist in refining my management and administrative skills. 

What are the responsibilities of general members, and how can you join?

Sam: All you have to do is interact with our Instagram posts and attend our events when you can! Being a general member is quite manageable and it goes on your involvement record. All have to do is sign up to be a general member through the Google Form in our link tree in our Instagram bio. 

The Black Student Collective contributes in various ways to student life on campus. Are there any specific areas you'd like to highlight?

Isaiah: There are many ways that we would like to contribute to student life on campus. From this year of in-person events returning to campus, we feel that we have learned a lot about the planning and executing of events as well as promotion and marketing which we feel has completely changed for us this year. Our social media went through a complete refresh this year courtesy of our new Co-Director of Communications (Social Media) and we have been able to be a lot more interactive and involved on social media with our general members and other clubs on campus. Our hope is to have even more engaging and fun events on campus in the future as well as promote student engagement not only in club activities but on campus life as well.

I want to be more than a general member; are there any jobs open and hiring where I can offer my ideas and be a part of the club itself?

Sam: Currently we're all full on our executive team for this year. But keep an eye out for hiring from late July to early September. You don't have to be an executive to offer your ideas though we're always looking for suggestions. Please don't hesitate to direct message us on Instagram or send us an email! 

How can someone be informed about the Black Student Collective's many events, posts, and news? 

Isaiah: You can reach us by our general email blackstudentscollective@gmail.com as well as our

Instagram page