Lawrence University’s Black Organization of Students brings students of African American heritage together with others to promote, educate, celebrate and support the rich heritage of African American culture. BOS also works to provide social events for the campus community.
BOS co-leader Michael Pope ’12 said, “BOS gives us as black students an outlet to educate people about the black community. BOS is an organization of students open to anyone on campus.”
The organization’s main goal is to educate others about black culture. The term “black” is not just limited to African Americans: it also includes people from Africa or the Caribbean as well.
Going forward BOS has big plans to revamp its mission and goals.
Specifically, BOS co-leader Timeka Toussaint ’12 explains that the club is trying to encourage members to find their individuality.
Toussaint commented, “Black is just a term that’s used. If you really explore it, you’ll learn something more.”
According to Toussaint, all the members of BOS have individual stories and experiences that help make BOS a unique organization. She really wants members to be able to “break out of their shell, not blend in with everyone else.”
To help with the process of finding and displaying individuality, BOS will sponsor an event called Cultural Expressions on Feb. 25 at 5 p.m. This event will take place in the Esch-Hurvis room in the campus center.
Cultural Expressions is an annual event that takes place in February in honor of black history. Toussaint explained that Cultural Expressions is a theme show about Black History Month and black culture. Unlike previous years, however, the show will reflect experiences and stories on a local and personal level to continue the theme of uniqueness and individuality.
The theme for this year’s Cultural Expressions is “the exploration of black individuality.” According to Pope, “it’s normally really interesting and a really good program.” The event will include dinner and a show, which showcases the talents of BOS members.
Pope said, “There will be dancing, singing, spoken word, and a few skits.” He also reveals that there will be a surprise from Caribbean students.
Rather than bringing a professional group to perform, all performances will be by Lawrence students. The members involved in Cultural Expressions this year are encouraged to showcase personal talents and stories that they want to share with the Lawrence and Appleton communities. This allows BOS to not only represent black heritage, but also to display the unique characteristics of each member.
This show also helps BOS develop its own unique identity as an organization. According to Toussaint, the group is striving to “make BOS their own, not just create an organization that represents what other people think it should be.”
BOS is also changing the structure of the organization this year. Instead of governing the group with the traditional president, treasurer and secretary, BOS is instituting a parliament-style board.
This alteration to the club’s structure will allow for more flexibility in member involvement and will continue to promote the group’s goals for individuality and a personalized organization.
Remaining a strong organization and structured for its individual needs is important not only for the group but also for its contribution to the Lawrence community.
Toussaint said, “BOS is important for Lawrence because a lot of members in the group have a lot of experiences they can relate to others.”
“When you think of race, you think of black as one encompassing term, but there are so many other things people identify with, not just being black,” said Toussaint. By encouraging individuality and understanding uniqueness, members of the group can “feel like they’re a part of something larger.”
Aside from the Cultural Expressions program, Pope encourages Lawrentians to be on the lookout for other events in February that are sponsored by BOS. Said Pope, “There will be a lot of forum-type events where people can learn more about topics they might not fully understand.”
If you are interested in learning more about BOS or wish to get involved, contact Michael Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org or Timeka Toussaint at email@example.com.