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History of the Black Student Union at Lewis University

Early in the fall of 1968 several black students established a new service organization at Lewis University called the Black Student Union. In 1969 Charles E. Jones, then Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, joined the administration to work with the Black Student Union. When Mr. Jones was promoted to Vice President for Community Affairs, Dr. Charles Kennedy was brought on board to be the Advisor for the Black Student Union. The Black Student Union grew to be one of the most viable organizations on campus with an enrollment of more than 80 students.

The Black Student Union arose out of the needs of students to form an organization to address concerns, implement positive change and encourage academic success. In 1971, under the guidance of the newly appointed Director of Minority Affairs, Dr. Charles Kennedy, the organization thrived in its mission. As the Black Student Union membership grew so did the need for other specific organizations to address the student’s campus life experience. Hence, Wine Psi Phi, Akadama Plum chapter began in 1973. Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., Zeta Mu Chapter 12/06/1974; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Mu Theta Chapter 5/23/1975; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc., Pi Eta Chapter 10/11/1975; Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Nu Epsilon Chapter 9/1/1977; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., Lambda Psi Chapter 2/19/1978; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., Iota Lambda Chapter 10/08/1978; Zeta Phi Beta, Epsilon Iota Chapter 12/16/1978; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., Iota Eta Chapter, 1978.

The original Constitution of the Black Student Union’s preamble:

“The collective opinion of the Black Students of the Lewis University community is to form a Black Student Union with these objective principles in mind:

To act in a concerted effort to help us understand more clearly, the political, social and economic status of the Black Student. We will endeavor to call the plight of the Black Student to the attention of the White community, by initiating various community forums and through Black political seminars. We will present Black guest speakers, lease Black art, maintain books on the political, economic and educational position of the Black Student for the Afro-American section of our library; and hold informal seminars. Such is necessary if the community is to understand the true nature of the struggle and aspirations of the Black Student.”

During the evolution of the Black Student Union, there have been a number of events and programs with the intent to unify the student body at Lewis University. Some of these events include Black History Month/Week with esteemed guest speakers as Justice R. Eugene Pincham, Dr. Cornel West, Oprah Winfrey and Vernon Jarrett.

Fast forward to current day Black Student Union Alumni Mission Statement:

Lewis University Black Student Union Alumni mission is to unify, uplift, enrich and support the ongoing professional growth of its members, while encouraging continued connections between alumni and the present Lewis University BSU students through service to, communication among and programs involving its members.

The Constitution and Mission are synonymous in their goal to achieve unity and inclusion. The on campus Black Student Union works hand in hand with the BSU Alumni to promote community service, scholastics, and professional growth.