February included informational and celebratory events throughout Student Affairs and other campus departments in honor of Black History Month.
National Pan-Hellenic Council hosted a film screening of “Afrikan By Way of America” at the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University to share the history of an Africatown community located near Mobile.
“The council wanted to provide exposure for a local African American filmmaker who makes films about untold but inspiring African American history in the state of Alabama,” Greek Life coordinator Benard Goins said. “They felt that education through film would give a different perspective and provide an avenue to reach more students and community partners.”
Student Involvement organizations such as the Black Student Union, or BSU, University Program Council, or UPC, and Emerge at Auburn held campus-wide Black History Month events.
“Black History Month is an exciting time for the Black Student Union,” student organizations coordinator Alexis Davis said. “Each year BSU plans multiple events for Auburn students to engage and learn about Black history and culture.”
According to Davis, BSU committees hold summer planning meetings to coordinate events and programming centered around Black History Month, including the Soul Food Bazaar, the Jazz and Poetry Gala, and Unity Week.
“Unity Week is a time for organizations around campus to collaborate and connect with the Black Student Union,” Davis said. “A goal for this event is to create unity throughout the Auburn Family.”
Emerge at Auburn hosted a Lunch and Learn that was themed “Leadership with Soul [Food]” featuring Martha Hawkins, owner of Martha’s Place, a Montgomery soul food restaurant. Hawkins shared her life story, dared students to be brave in their dreams and dished about soul food, while attendees were treated to lunch catered by Hawkins’ renowned restaurant.
BSU, Emerge at Auburn and UPC collaborated to bring Yusef Salaam, a member of the Exonerated Five, to campus as the Black History Month Keynote Speaker.
According to leadership programs coordinator Hannah Gerken, these student organizations hope attendees gain a deeper understanding of Salaam’s experience, his life story and how it shaped who he is as a father, poet, activist, motivator and leader.
“It is an honor and privilege to host Dr. Yusef Salaam on Auburn University’s campus as our keynote speaker for Black History Month 2022,” Gerken said. “Through this collaboration, we are excited for students to engage in honest conversation about what it means to persevere through unimaginable situations, identify tangible ways to advocate for change and how to break through boundaries.”
Additionally, students and the campus community had several other opportunities to attend Black History Month events with other organizations across the university to learn more about Black history and accomplishments.
When asked what Davis hopes Black History Month event attendees learned and experienced, she said, “I hope they learn about Black culture and experiences of Black students on this campus.”
There are organizations throughout campus that celebrate Black culture every day, and Black History Month highlights the diversity that is present on campus and gives these organizations the opportunity to engage even more with Auburn students and the campus community.
To explore these organizations, visit AUinvolve.