Newman Black Student Union gears up for Black History Month events


The Newman University Black Student Union (BSU) is planning several events to celebrate Black History Month.

Festivities begin Feb. 1, which BSU is designating “Black Friday,” encouraging students to wear their BSU T-shirts.

Newman University Director of Multicultural Engagement and Campus Life Joseph Shepard spoke about what students, faculty and staff can expect during Black History Month.

Joseph Shepard, director of multicultural engagement and student life

“We have various events coming up, from educational to social,” explained Shepard. “We have the 100 Black Men Conference and ‘Trap and Paint’ to help educate people about African-American culture. We’re (also) having an open mic night for those who would like to perform pieces of spoken work, poetry or music to help honor Black History Month and the push for equality.”

In preparation for Black History Month, the Department of Student Life helped celebrate the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with a unity march and service award ceremony.

In addition to the 100 Black Men Conference and “Trap and Paint,” there are various other events for members of the Newman community to enjoy.

According to Shepard, students can expect a jambalaya hosted by the BSU as well as an art exhibit that explores and showcases African-American history and important events and social contributions made by African Americans.

“We really hope everyone can get involved and educate themselves about the importance of diversity and inclusion. There’s power in the African-American story, and it may not always be a feel-good story, but its message empowers us to move forward and alter society’s course for the betterment of everyone.”

For Shepard, who has been at the university since November 2018, the best part of the job is seeing students being challenged to step up and recognize their potential as leaders, he said.

“I have loved educating them on multiculturalism and inclusion, and it’s been great getting to see them become champions of diversity. It’s clear that they are able to influence positive change both on campus and in society, which is exactly what Newman prepares its students to do.”


Events planned for Black History Month:

Feb. 1 — Black Friday: Black History Month kickoff, 8:30 a.m. in the Fugate Student Center. Everyone is encouraged to wear Black Student Union (BSU) T-shirts.

Feb. 6 — Soul food day in the Mabee Dining Center: Celebrates the history of soul food and its role in the black community. It represents unity, family, history, struggle and resilience.

Feb. 8 — Jet Friday: 8:30 a.m. donuts and coffee in the student life center.

Feb. 8 — Trap and Paint: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the De Mattias art room.

Feb. 12 — The Black Inventors Exhibit: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in De Mattias Fine Arts Center Atrium. The Institute of Black Invention and Technology showcases over 100 black inventors and their biographies with the mission of making certain that young people are aware of how African-Americans have contributed a variety of innovations.

Feb. 13 — Bonnets and Durags: Black Culture Discussion: 6 to 7 p.m. in the Fugate Student Center.

Feb. 16 — 100 Black Men Conference: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center. Newman University’s Division of Student Affairs and Black Student Union in collaboration with Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. will host Wichita’s first 100 Black Men Conference at Newman University. This one-day conference will empower, unite and uplift African-American men ages 17-50. The 100 Black Men Conference aligns with Newman University’s mission to “empower graduates to transform society.” More importantly, the conference will aim to address Factor #2 of the 2018 Focus Forward Chung Report: Attitude Problem.

Feb. 20 — African-Americans in Health and Medicine Panel Discussion: 6 to 7 p.m. in the Dugan-Gorges Conference Center. Newman University’s Division of Student Affairs and Black Student Union will host a Black Professionals Health Panel to educate the campus community on the realities of health disparities impacting the black community and the struggles faced as a person of color working within the health care field. 

Feb. 26 — Open Mic Night: 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. in the Jabara Blackbox Theatre located inside De Mattias Hall.

Feb. 27 — Jambalaya Dish Fundraiser: Jambalaya is a dish that is the result of a collision of cultures: Spanish, French, Senegalese slaves, Germans and Native Americans. A single bowl reflects many of the diverse cultures that planted roots in and around New Orleans in the 18th century.

Feb. 28 — The Greek Showcase: Newman University’s Division of Student Affairs and Black Student Union will share a piece of black history and culture with Historic Black Greek Lettered Organizations. Step and stroll in the Fugate Gymnasium in honor of Black History Month and share a piece of culture with the Newman community.



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