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The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

The Student News Site of San Francisco State University

Golden Gate Xpress

BSU heats up Hippie Hill with Blackout BBQ

SFSU and USF came together to celebrate cultural pride and unity
Adriana Hernandez
Ryan Webb leads the electric slide accompanied by other attendees at Hippie Hill on Feb. 24 (Adriana Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress)

Hippie Hill was highly melanated as Black Student Unions of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco collaborated to host their semi-annual Blackout BBQ on Feb. 24.

The warm weather matched the atmosphere of the approximate 200 students who attended the six-hour event that featured free food, beverages, music, games and performances from several fraternities and sororities.

SFSU’s BSU earned bragging rights after claiming victory in a one-sided tug-of-war matchup against their USF counterparts.

“The inspiration behind the event was honestly just to get everybody together,” said Quiani Owens, SFSU’s BSU communications officer. “San Francisco State is such a commuter school; a lot of our Black population is off-campus. We wanted to take the time, like on the weekends — where we weren’t in school, we don’t have extracurriculars — to just come together and have a good time, which I think everybody has.”

Three sorority sisters dance at Hippie Hill on Feb. 24. (Adriana Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress) (Adriana Hernandez)

The first Black Student Union in the country was founded at SFSU in 1966. Despite the organization being denied historical funding for the event, Owens says both BSU chapters were able to architect Saturday’s festivities.

“The school makes it hard to function as a student organization when it comes to getting access to funding,” said SFSU BSU President Kiarah Bey. “We paid for all of this out of our pocket, some people had to make some of the stuff for this event.”

Current students and alumni from institutions such as San Jose State, UC Berkeley and Cal State East Bay were also on hand to celebrate Black culture and unity.

“Being able to host something like this and get people from other campuses to come celebrate, have fun and that good vibe, that’s the best part of it,” said Ryan Webb, a class of 2019 SFSU alumnus. “We’re all from different places. Some people from the Bay, out of state, LA, so being able to connect with different people — this is something I wish my group would have thought of. It’s hype being able to see from the first one to now. It’s doubled in numbers each and every time. It’s great to see the fruits of the labor.”

Jaden Fontana, a fourth-year business management student, expressed how he enjoyed his time and appreciated the hospitality at the event.

“It’s good seeing your people,” Fontana said. “When you’re surrounded by your people, it makes me feel better and feel more empowered.”

Attendees get drinks at the Black Out Barbecue at Hippie Hill on Feb. 24. (Adriana Hernandez / Golden Gate Xpress) (Adriana Hernandez)

This semester marked the second time Adeboye Adeyemi, a second-year transfer student, joined the Blackout BBQ, and he was thrilled by the impressive turnout.

“It feels good,” Adeyemi said. “Everyone is mingling around. When you stay in SF, it’s hard to find people of color on campus all the time. So it’s good to have this community event held for everybody out here.”

During Fall 2023, Black students only accounted for 6.23% of enrolled students, according to SFSU’s headcount report.

“When it comes to Black enrollment — or just Black students at state —there’s not a lot of support,” Owens said. “They’ll say that there’s support, but they’re never aggressive to reach out to Black students to see how we’re doing, or to just check on us out of the blue. I think that the school needs to work on that. Though there are Black students coming to campus, the retention of like, keeping them and having kids not drop out is crazy.”

Saturday’s event provided camaraderie as some find it challenging to ingratiate themselves socially on campus and seldom encounter fellow Black students in the classroom.

“You have to find your community in order to feel like you belong, in order to find a place that suits you or for you to flourish in the way that you need to,” Bey said. “The only way I did that was by putting myself in those Black spaces. Honestly, SFSU as a whole, it’s hard to feel supported by the school because it is a primarily white institution. Just existing as a Black person in America is kind of the same. You have to kind of find your place of belonging and tailor what you want your experience to be.”

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About the Contributors
Victor Harris Jr
Victor Harris Jr, Podcast Editor
Victor Harris Jr (he/him) is a reporter for Golden Gate Xpress. Raised in Fairfield, California, he is a transfer student from Solano Community College, majoring in Journalism with a minor in Management. During his free time, you can find him watching sports, bowling, gaming, or working on his sports podcast, More Trophies.
Adriana Hernandez
Adriana Hernandez, Editor-In-Chief
Adriana Hernandez (she/her) is the Editor-In-Chief for Golden Gate Xpress. She is majoring in journalism and minoring in media literacy. Adriana has a passion for storytelling, culture, art, and design. She previously wrote for The Skyline View, the student newspaper of Skyline College. In her downtime, she enjoys reading and watching films. For any inquiries, you can contact me at [email protected].  

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