SF State Black Student Union extends support to local high school students

As a way to continue its legacy of community outreach, the SF State Black Student Union will be hosting 250 BSU students from Northern California high schools on campus Nov. 17 for the Black Student Union Northern Region Conference.

The annual conference is sponsored by United Black Student Unions of Northern California. Participating high school BSUs in the organization’s northern region, between Sacramento and San Jose, attend the conference each year as a way to build community and to network.

George Washington High School in San Francisco was chosen as the outstanding BSU of the year. The conference is usually held at a university. SF State was chosen to host the event because of its proximity to the winner.

The guest speaker for the conference will be Dr. James Garrett, an SF State alum who started the BSU on campus in 1968 and formed the first ethnic studies program at SF State.

“There aren’t a lot of opportunities for young African American students to come together in a positive environment,” said Danielle Tompkins, first vice president of the Northern Region Conference.

UBSUC is in its 39th year of providing opportunities and resources to African American high school students. The organization seeks to develop outstanding young people by building self-esteem, being a source of encouragement, creating leaders and providing survival reinforcement to students. It also provides scholarships to outstanding members.

“We’ve been doing this for over 20 years. It’s always been a mission to give back to our communities and bring youth to our campus,” said Tachelle Herron, first-year graduate student, BSU secretary and youth outreach coordinator. “That is why we are doing our youth outreach, as well as our task force.”

There will be a total of 10 different workshops, a panel of current SF State students, Africana Studies and other majors, as well as a high school student panel. Current SF state students will give tours of campus and offer one-on-one mentoring to high school youth.

Workshop topics range from tips about surviving college, STDs and safer sex information, black history and financial planning.

The youth will learn what college is really like, especially issues that black students face, such as being the only person of color in your class, Herron said.

SF State BSU students hope to convey that new black students can find a community and support.

“They do have a support team such as a tutor, a college adviser, a student organization and student government that they can be a part of and make a mentor,” Herron said.

Tompkins said the conference and UBSUC provide a positive atmosphere for the youth.

Some of the best things about the organization is that youth could find “love, excellence and high expectations,” Tompkins said.