SUNY Oswego celebrates diversity, Black History Month

OSWEGO, N.Y.– SUNY Oswego admitted its most diverse class of students in history in the fall of 2016, with 33 percent of the class of 2020 representing minority populations.

“We have a reputation of being a very embracing campus, a very inclusive and diverse camp,” said Jerald Woolfolk, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at SUNY Oswego. “That reputation is spreading throughout the state and throughout SUNY.”

SUNY Oswego encourages students to embrace their varying cultures and backgrounds by holding cultural celebrations, inviting diverse speakers to campus and celebrating all the federal heritage months, such as Black History Month in February.

During Black History Month, executive board members of the SUNY Oswego Black Student Union (BSU) hold events to educate the campus community, ranging from presentations, showing films and theme nights.

“It gives the black students on campus a time to love themselves more and it also gives us an opportunity to educate others who don’t know much about our culture and our history,” BSU President Malik David said. 

The organization’s biggest event is a variety show, which is basically a fashion show, David said. Each e-board member has a team that performs a choreographed dance. This year’s theme was “Black is Gold.”

This year’s variety show took place in the Hewitt Ballroom at 7 p.m. on February 24.

“I feel like we shouldn’t really dedicate one month to celebrating all of our past, all of the talents and all of the great things that came before us,” David said. 

Additional events BSU hosted this month include a program called “On the Block” where participants played games from their childhoods and a presentation for students called “Strange Fruits,” an overview of the history of lynching African Americans in the United States.

Howard Gordon, the executive assistant to SUNY Oswego’s president, described the college as a “welcoming, inclusive community.”

“Students themselves find a place at the institution that becomes their own and if it’s going to be a good place for them, it’s because they found something in the environment that they really appreciate,” Gordon said.