Black United Students: meet the 2011-2012 executive board members

Avery Danage, president. Photo by Monica Maschak.

Amy Cooknick

Black United Students is back with a new executive board ready to face the year from a fresh perspective.

Chatiera Ray, BUS vice president, said she felt motivated to join the new board because it was time for a change.

“I wanted to get more involved,” Ray said. “I wanted to help revamp (BUS) and make it more appealing to the student body.”

In April, BUS sparked interests across campus when it advertised an “emergency meeting” in the Student Multicultural Center. Posters warned the end of one of the oldest student groups on campus. At the meeting, the posters were revealed as a marketing strategy to bring curious students into the organization and, potentially, onto the BUS executive board. Students voted in late April to elect the new board.

Why should I care?

  • Black United Students has been a powerful presence on campus since its inception in 1968, but recent tension with other campus organizations has caused BUS to lose face on campus.
  • The newly elected executive board plans to restore BUS to its original position of helping students in need.

“(BUS is) the umbrella organization for minority groups and minority organizations,” said BUS President Avery Danage, expressing his hopes for the upcoming year. “I want us to be able to effectively act as that.”

After the challenges BUS faced during Spring 2011, the executive board plans to return to the roots of BUS by being more open to and involved in the Kent State community. The new board members intend to improve BUS’s reputation through positive, consistent involvement on campus.

Junior political science major

“My vision can be summed up to a sense of stability,” Danage said. “In the past couple of years, it’s been like ‘Survivor: BUS Edition.’ You’ve seen a lot of people come and go. This year we’re pushing for stability and consistency.”

Danage said he was active in BUS during his freshman year, but took time off to serve on Kent Interhall Council.

“Being a part of BUS was the large picture for me, and it was always something I wanted, but I got distracted,” Danage said. “I wanted to have some type of involvement and felt like it was my responsibility as a member of the African-American community to run for president.”

In addition to BUS, Danage works in the Office of Government Relations and is a member of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity.

Senior fashion merchandising major

“This year I really want BUS to get more involved on campus,” Ray said. “A lot of people say we’re not approachable, but we just want to be more approachable and more comforting.”

Ray said she has been active in BUS as a choreographer for the past two Renaissance Balls, and as a participant in the ball during her sophomore year. She said she wants to make BUS once again a place where students can come to be heard on campus.

“I just want to be more involved in bringing back the whole reason why BUS was organized on campus because without BUS, we wouldn’t have Pan-African studies or these other (minority) groups,” she said.

Sophomore English major

“One of the reasons I decided to run for the chair of political affairs is that a lot of my friends don’t realize the power that politics has over their lives,” Washington said.

Washington, who was active in BUS during his freshman year, said he hopes to use his position to encourage students to inform themselves on political issues and to vote.

“I feel like a lot of people are on the sidelines in regards to politics because they feel that they don’t have a voice, when in all actuality they do,” he said.

Washington also serves on the Undergraduate Student Government allocations committee in the permanent chair held by BUS.

Junior integrated health studies major

“I just want to bring more togetherness to the students and bring more awareness on different issues that we’re faced with on campus,” Williams said.

Williams said she has been active in bus since her freshman year. This was her first year running for an executive position.

“I want students to be aware of what’s going on and have a place where they can discuss those things,” Williams said.

Senior teaching English as a second language major

“My plans for BUS are to really connect Kent State with the Kent community,” Salters said.

In her new position, Salters said she plans to focus on helping educate children in the Kent community. She also said this would be a challenging year for BUS as it tries to refocus and improve their image on campus.

“This will be a good year for us and a difficult year for us,” Salters said. “We’re rebuilding BUS, but I think we can do it. We’re all very creative people.”

Salters also serves as the secretary for Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Junior sociology major

“My vision for this year is for BUS to reclaim its image because for the past couple of years, people have been saying, and I’ve observed, that BUS has not been as prominent as they should be,” Johnson said.

Johnson said he had been involved in BUS since his freshman year and was co-chair of the executive board last year.

“I just want to network and talk to other organizations on campus and see if we can get some connections so that we can co-sponsor (events) with other organizations,” he said.

In addition to his role as director of student relations, Johnson is the liaison from BUS to the Department of Pan-African Studies.

Sophomore fashion design major

“I feel as though a lot of our minority students don’t get enough support as far as their education,” Turner said. “I want to encourage people to go that extra mile for their education.”

Turner said she plans to encourage students struggling with academic challenges, including learning disorders, by talking with people and making her presence known on campus.

“My overall vision is to have people know who (BUS is), and know that they can come to us for anything,” Turner said. “Not just minorities, but anybody on campus if they need help with anything academic.”

Sophomore fashion merchandising major

“I saw that the community needed a lot of help because BUS was really going through some changes with the different generations and with people not being as active,” Proctor said. “I feel like I could get BUS a new reputation and help it be promoted better than it was before.”

Proctor said she attended BUS events during her freshman year, but has many ideas for how the group’s events could be better this year.

“My overall vision for BUS is to really gain a lot more members — not just black,” Proctor said. “I want people to know that they can come to BUS. I feel like it has a lot of power and people know about BUS, and we’re not living up to our expectations.”

Contact Any Cooknick at [email protected].