The hub for Black student life on campus formerly known as the African American Student Center has a new name.
Students recently pushed to rename it the Black Resource Center (BRC). The new name will go into effect at the start of the fall semester in August.
Last fall, Black students involved with the African American Student Center (AASC) began having discussions around inclusiveness and Black identity. As a result, many students felt the AASC no longer represented all identities, pointing to research showing the Black population is both diverse and growing in the U.S.
Students then took the lead to make change. The center held a community meeting last September to discuss guidelines and how Black identities could be better represented. In November, an additional community meeting discussed inclusiveness across the diaspora. The final catalyst for change was affirmed when students attended the Afrikan Black Coalition Conference, an annual event that serves over 800 Black students across California each January.
“Black students on campus took the initiative to begin to have conversations and be vulnerable with each other,” said Derick Prince, student retention coordinator for the center.
After the conference, the AASC surveyed students to capture their thoughts — should the title of the center be changed to be inclusive of all Black people? The results were clear. Over 77 percent of students responded “yes.”
“I believe it is important that students came to the final decision and not faculty/staff, since it is designed to serve students. It was important to have that student voice, and it also displays the importance of student advocacy on campus,” said Prince.
The term ‘Black’ was chosen as an expansive term that captures all identities within the Black diaspora, including Nigerians, Puerto Ricans, Belizeans, Jamaicans, and Ghanaians, to name a few. The name change also aligns with other identity spaces across the CSU, who currently use ‘Black’ in their own center titles.
“Since not all Black people are African American, it’d be nice to include all Black people – those who are not African American as well,” said Kelsey Ehinlaiye, a student involved in the name change process.
Importantly, the BRC is changing in name only and is not a new center. Just like the AASC, the center will continue to offer innovative resources and support for students while strengthening the understanding of the Black diaspora.
The BRC also provides retention and outreach programs through academic, personal, and professional services and culturally relevant programs. Initiatives include academic coaching hours, commitment to mental health through a new CAPS counselor focused solely on the Black student experience, leadership development, free printing, and more.
“It is my hope that the Black Resource Center will continue to be a safe space where Black students can be their authentic selves without fear of repercussion or judgement. I believe the BRC will grow to be a space that will offer transformative and intentional programs for the Black Population at Cal Poly Pomona,” said Prince.
A name change ceremony outside of the center (‘pancakes’ in the University Quad) is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 14 from 11 a.m. to2 p.m. Registration details will be shared with the campus community at a later date.
The BRC is part of the Centers for Transformation, Retention, Equity, and Empowerment (T.R.E.E.), which operates each of the six cultural and identity centers on campus. These centers aim to serve the needs of diverse students and are open to all CPP students. For information on how to get involved, email email@example.com.
The BRC is led by Derick Prince, student retention coordinator, Felicia McGowan, assistant coordinator, and several student social justice leaders. For more info, call 909-869-4759 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.