PNW celebrates Black History Month with calendar of events
Purdue University Northwest (PNW) will commemorate Black History Month with a wide-range of programming that honors the rich culture, history and achievements of African-Americans and the African Diaspora. Lectures, discussions, networking, trivia and open mic nights are among the scheduled activities for the month.
“Black History Month at its core is about education,” says Britt Hudson, assistant dean of students at PNW. “It’s important for the Black community to be able to celebrate their heritage. It’s also important to share with the campus community, as well as celebrate, the considerable accomplishments and contributions of African Americans throughout history.”
This year’s theme, Celebrating Black Joy and Black Mental Health, will be reflected in many of the scheduled activities. “In keeping with this year’s theme, several of the events are designed to help students find little pockets of joy on campus – to help them live and celebrate life and live in joy,” says Hudson. Among those events are meditation sessions and a mental health discussion which will provide a safe space to discuss topics related to the mental health journey.
The month-long celebration also features the Nia Bowl, a Black culture trivia competition, Paint & Sip with a local artist, Open Mic Night, a professional development and networking event in conjunction with the Career Center, as well as many other fun-filled activities.
Hudson is excited to announce the return of The Toast to Black Excellence, a black tie event to commemorate a successful Black History Month. “It’s also an opportunity for us to honor the contributions made by the Black PNW community,” explains Hudson. “We will be spotlighting students who are working to help move the university forward in its multicultural, diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campus.”
Most important to the committee was to make sure Black students know and feel that they belong on campus — that they belong here at PNW.
PNW’s campus organizations, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Black Student Union (BSU) and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Inc., made up this year’s Black History Month planning committee. The planning committee is part of the larger Cultural Heritage Celebration Committee, which plans events to celebrate the diversity of PNW’s campus community. “We wanted people to be able to immerse themselves in a different culture,” says Hudson of the planning process. “To learn and appreciate all of the multi-faceted parts of the African diaspora and the amazing accomplishments of the Black community. Most important to the committee was to make sure Black students know and feel that they belong on campus — that they belong here at PNW.”
The current month-long observance of Black History Month, also known as African American History Month, began in 1926 as a week-long event sponsored by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). ASALH, founded by historian Carter G. Woodson and prominent minister Jesse E. Moorland, hoped the week would inspire and encourage schools and communities to recognize and celebrate the role of African Americans in U.S. history. During the 1960s, the week-long observance grew into a month-long celebration on many college campuses. Since 1976, the month of February has been officially designated as Black History Month.