In honor of Black History month, The Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development would like to highlight student leaders of Black organizations on campus. This interview will feature Josef Thompson of the Black Student Union.
Josef Thompson’23 (Vice President)
Josef Thompson is a senior majoring in Industrial Systems Engineering and the Vice President of the Black Student Union.
What are you passionate about?
I’m very passionate about equity for all races, gender, sexualities, and backgrounds. Historically, many people who are not white, cisgender men have been pushed to the side and have not received the same resources to succeed. I think it’s important that our communities come together to uplift each other and work with politicians to reframe the policies hindering our communities’ growth.
As a student leader, how important is it for students to be involved on campus?
It’s really important for everyone to be involved in any way they can. Without our general body members, we would lose our purpose; there’s no point in hosting these events if there’s no one to attend. Additionally, multicultural organizations have been a large part of campus life for decades and will continue to be for many more decades. It’s important that all students, new and old, intern for these organizations to learn more and get involved.
What skills have you gained by being a member of this Executive Board?
I’ve gained leadership skills, organizational skills, communication skills, and time management skills.
Why did you first join this organization?
I first joined BSU because I participated in their fashion show in my freshman year. Being that I was in Watson, my initial experience was being one of the only Black people in my classrooms. BSU created a space where I could unapologetically be my complete self and a space where I was around people that look like me. I wanted to get involved so that underclassmen wouldn’t have to experience that feeling of isolation, and so that they know they have a supportive community that is here for all of their needs.
How does your organization contribute to the upliftment of Black community members?
We uplift community members not just on Binghamton’s campus, but also outside of campus. We have general body meetings meant to educate and spark political conversations. We also have large events such as our fashion show, to show Black people that we can take over industries and spaces such as fashion. On the weekends, we hold our Youth Program, where we have 5-13-year-olds from the Binghamton community come to campus for mentorship and fun activities. We also have UTURN where we go to a boys correctional facility to provide them with mentorship and guidance. We collaborate with community organizations such as CARES to continue to help uplift the younger generations.
If you are interested in learning more about BSU and the amazing work that they, do feel free to follow them on Instagram: @bsu.1968!