Black History Month Student Organization Spotlight: The National Society of Black Engineers and The Black Student Union 

Black History Month is a month in which we commemorate and celebrate the contributions and strides the black community has made. However, it is also a time to acknowledge the adversities and challenges that the black community has faced. This month observance serves as an opportunity to honor the rich history and culture of the black community both in the United States and around the world. As we kick off this very important month, it is important to also note organizations on the Binghamton University campus that help uplift the voices of black students and provide a space where they are encouraged and given the resources to succeed both personally and professionally. If you want to learn more about the missions, resources, and involvement of both the National Society of Black Engineers and the Black Student Union please read below.

Tell me about your organization. 

Our goal on campus is to create a community for black and poc students who are currently studying in Watson or interested in Engineering, where they can ask for help with their coursework, make new friends, gain new skills to help with their professional development and more. We’ve hosted workshops like resume review and website portfolio making, community gathering events like study jams and our yearly GIM Bon’Fiyah as well as make new projects for members to work on like our Go-Kart and Prime Projects.–National Society of Black Engineers

The Black Student Union was founded in 1968 to promote unity, inclusiveness, and community amongst black people at a predominately white institution such as Binghamton University. It is still prevalent and making strides in its 55th year as we continue the legacy of promoting a safe space for black people. The Black Student Union has hosted many events such as our yearly homecoming fashion show, the Andy Uwandinobi football tournament, Black Museum, Black Solidarity Day, and numerous programs such as U.T.U.R.N, Youth Program, and Vanguard.–Black Student Union

As an on-campus organization tailored to uplifting the voices of black students on campus, in what ways has the organization advocated for black students or empowered students to do so on their own?

In my experience NSBE helped me understand that even though in many of my classes I can be the only African-American person in my class- I’m not alone. They helped me connect with other people in my major that were going through similar experiences and has helped me realize it’s normal to struggle but you shouldn’t struggle alone and that has helped me advocate for myself when I became overwhelmed and confused by assignments.–National Society of Black Engineers

As an on-campus organization tailored to uplifting the voices of black students on campus, we have done many things to make sure all of the black voices are heard on campus such as a yearly march around campus, open mic nights where people express their passions and talents, as well as many general body meetings during, after and before Black History Month where the black community unpacks and discusses the challenges black people in America face daily.–Black Student Union

Why do you think Black History Month is important to celebrate and what does it mean to you?

Black History Month is important to celebrate because it stands to recognize those who were able to succeed or make the world a better place while being Black or African American despite that identity oftentimes being an active disadvantage. Black History month inspires me to aim for and achieve success, even when I face difficulties like being the only black person in my class. My people are a strong people, whether they are Black American, African or Caribbean, no matter the specific ethnicity, being Black comes with a strength that motivates me and so many others to keep moving forward and achieving more, and this greatness deserves to be highlighted.–National Society of Black Engineers

Black History Month to me means recognizing all the wonderful black people and accomplishments they have made, while feeling connected to our roots in a way that uplifts and reminds black people that they are enough and can move mountains in this world. Due to the severity of black people’s accomplishments needing to be recognized, praised, and accepted- Black History Month is a necessary month filled with joy and triumph.–Black Student Union

What is one piece of advice you would give incoming students that are hoping to acclimate to campus life?

It’s okay to be loud- sometimes you have to. Raise your hand when you’re confused or you think you understand because sometimes you don’t and need correcting. Form relationships/bonds with your professors, they are human too, especially those specific to your major.–National Society of Black Engineers

One piece of advice I would give to incoming students who are hoping to acclimate to college life is, don’t ever let anyone dim your light or bring you down. Everyone is amazing in their own way and deserves to be heard and accepted. Never stop being who you are and always remember to put your absolute best foot forward!–Black Student Union

By Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros
Stephanie Ramirez-Cisneros Senior Peer Consultant