by Dorielle Obanor
Every Spring I can expect for the chronicle to release an article or op-ed piece challenging the necessity of Duke’s Black Student Alliance Week. Programs such as these promote self-segregation, racial division, and an unrounded experience of Duke these articles assert. Personally, I have grown tired of these wrongly aimed and ill-informed articles, as many with strong convictions have neither participated in BSAI events nor have taken the time to speak with attendees.
My BSAI experience was amazing. For me, BSAI weekend was important opportunity for me to experience what being a black student is like at Duke a predominately white institution. Furthermore, it allowed me to assess the amount of support and solidarity both within the black community and outside. Having several prestigious schools on my list, I wanted to ensure that wherever I attended I would feel not only comfortable but also supported as a minority student. Throughout my weekend I interacted not only with black members of the Duke community, but several p-frosh who were there for scholarship interviews as well as various friends and acquaintances of my host. I left BSAI with a strong conviction that Duke University was the best fit for me, and that weekend is one of the main reasons why I ultimately decided to attend Duke. Because of this, I undoubtedly support the efforts of this weekend.
This year we celebrate 50 years of black students at Duke, retrospectively 50 years is not a long time ago. Weekends like BSAI are extremely important in ensuring not only diversity at Duke but showing black students that Duke is an environment where all can flourish and be supported. While this short weekend is merely a glimpse of the Duke experience it is useful and necessary. This year, I challenge my peers to take the time to experience the step show, Jabulani, discussion panels, and performers that BSAI showcases, rather then taking to the chronicle to criticize the weekend. Take the time to speak with p-frosh that come from across the country, the students at Duke that commit their time and energy in to putting the weekend on, and I’m sure you’ll realize how impactful and important BSAI is.