Black Student Association: Revitalized & Thriving
By Ashley Kilday, Contributing Writer
The Black Student Association (BSA) at UHD is back and thriving thanks to the efforts of senior Madeleine Diagne. After transferring to UHD in 2021 and discovering that BSA was inactive, Diagne took the initiative to revive the organization and provide a community for Black students on campus. “How could I be involved with my community if I didn’t know where my community was?” Diagne said.
Structure & Outreach
Under Diagne’s leadership as BSA president, the organization established a strong sense of structure and community for Black students, including holding various events such as student body meetings, a Juneteenth x Father’s Day BBQ, and a range of events during Black History Month. BSA also collaborated with other organizations on campus to ensure their events were well-funded and aligned with their vision.
Education Within an Education
Diagne’s focus on professional development was a key part of BSA’s activities, with the group inviting a CEO-founder of the nonprofit Student Career Studio to deliver a 45-minute presentation on the power of LinkedIn, including how to build a brand, how to network, and how to best utilize the platform. Other meetings covered topics such as breast cancer awareness and a partnership with Momentum Education, which connects students with mentors in their desired fields.
Community & Camaraderie
Two of BSA’s values are community and growth, according to Diagne. “Community reinforces the importance of how we interact with each other and our environment. Growth covers how I want us to grow as individuals and as a community,” she said. “Camaraderie is also important. I like to make sure people get to know one another. We do mental health check-ins and offer academic support for people who may be struggling.”
The New E-Board
Diagne’s term as BSA president ended, but the organization continues under new leader Richard Solomon. “It’s been a great year, and I am excited to see the new heights we will reach,” Diagne said. She continues on the executive board, serving as BSA’s treasurer.
BSA’s re-establishment has been a significant step for Black students on campus, providing a sense of community and an opportunity for personal growth. Diagne’s leadership has been crucial to the organization’s success, and her focus on professional development and collaboration with other organizations has been a key part of BSA’s activities.
The re-establishment of BSA also serves as a testament to the importance of providing a community for Black students on campus. As Diagne said, “The doors are open to all. We want to bridge the gap between Black students and the rest of the UHD community. We want our members to know they truly belong, without having to ask a second time.”
As Diagne looks forward to graduating in spring 2024, she hopes that BSA will continue to grow exponentially and make an impact on the community. With its revitalization and success, BSA is well on its way to achieving those goals and reaching even greater heights.
Group photo credit: UHD BSA Instagram
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.