Student organization plans to educate, recruit new members

Erian Bradley

The Black Leadership and Academic Conference, or BLAC, is a WKU student organization based on a similar program Texas A&M University has conducted for 29 years, the Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference, which is open to many colleges around the world. WKU was one of the schools that attended this conference and eventually decided to make a replica conference for students at WKU.

Josclynn Brandon , coordinator at the Student Activities Center, said the program started when the former vice president of student affairs Howard Bailey and other staff members decided to replicate the conference at WKU.

Brandon said BLAC is a completely student-run conference that promotes professional development and leadership for students of color at WKU. Brandon says there is a decrease of enrollment of minority students at WKU for various reasons. She thinks many students decide to leave WKU after struggling academically; maybe they decide it isn’t for them, or they have other issues keeping them from graduating.

“We wanted this conference to take place for students to want to connect with other students of color, to connect with faculty and staff that look like them, and to improve on their leadership and professional and personal development,” Brandon said.

The organization hopes to recruit more minority students at a Black History Month Trivia Night on Feb. 15.

Jade Haywood, co-chair of entertainment in BLAC, said the turnout last year for the trivia night was a success. Haywood said she thinks students are more aware of the event because of better marketing reasons and more will come to show support. The organization has made the trivia night a swipeable event, so students will come to receive credit for class. Students will receive prizes for being more informed of black history at WKU.

“Students are always drawn to food and good prizes,” Haywood said.

The BLAC organization conducted their first conference last semester. Students had been planning the conference since 2013, but the conference was delayed due to students graduating and transitioning to different places.

Senior Jessica Jackson said she thinks the organization will thrive this year.

“I am so proud of being a part of an organization that matters,” Jackson said. “I can’t wait for Trivia Night and many other events that will follow.”

Josclynn Brandon said this is a time for students of color to learn about WKU’s black history. She mentioned a book published in 2006 that talks about WKU’s first black cheerleader, first black homecoming queen and other achievements. Brandon said the book is being used to promote the event but also to show students of color that these people did it and so can you.

“The ultimate goal is to invite students across this region to this conference, and invite them to build on their professional development and grow as leaders,” Brandon said.

The trivia night will take place Feb. 15 in DSU room 2123 at 7 p.m.

Reporter Erian Bradley can be reached at (270)745-0655 and [email protected]

This article originally referred to the South-western Black Student Leadership Conference. The correct title is Southwestern Black Student Leadership Conference. The Herald regrets this error.