February 9, 2023

CHaSS Faculty, Alumni Facilitate Black History Month Events

By Andrea DeHaan, CHaSS Communications Editor

A USU student asks a question at the Business, Race, and Society panel on Feb. 3, 2023.A USU student asks a question at the Business, Race, and Society panel on Feb. 3, 2023. Participants from left: Mia Love, Ken Coleman, Charisse Bremond Weaver, and Dion-Jay Brookter. (Photo credit: Morgan Kuethe)

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHaSS) is helping to host and organize a series of events in honor of Black History Month at Utah State University. These began on February 3 and will continue throughout the month.

Spearheaded by CHaSS Special Assistant to the Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Cree Taylor, the initiatives will see the college partner with USU Athletics, the Emma Eccles Jones College of Education and Human Services (CEHS), and the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, among others, as USU welcomes students, staff, faculty, and alumni to celebrate Black History Month.

“Black History Month is an opportunity to help the Black and African American students and alumni feel seen, supported, appreciated, and connected,” said Taylor. “CHaSS recognizes diversity, equity, and inclusion as characteristics of a strong university. These are our values and shape all that we do. It makes sense for us to be involved because this is who we are.”

On Friday, Feb. 3, CHaSS and the Huntsman School of Business co-sponsored Q&A events with Black business leaders, which included a panel moderated by political commentator and former U.S. representative Mia Love.

During the conversation, which focused on “Business, Race, and Society,” CHaSS alumnus and panel participant Dion-Jay Brookter encouraged current students to seek personal growth and understanding through books, literature, and information that is readily accessible in the digital age.

“Once you understand who you are, and you’re comfortable with being able to live in your skin in uncomfortable circumstances and situations, they no longer become uncomfortable,” said Brookter, who is the executive director of Young Community Developers, a nonprofit in San Francisco.

Taylor has arranged for eight additional alumni to visit their alma mater later this month and to record oral histories, which will be conducted with assistance from USU Libraries and archived for future use.

“Through studying these histories … our Black and African American students can see how their experience has been embedded in the history of the university,” said Taylor, who is also a USU alumna. “I want them to know that they are part of the Aggie legacy.”

On Feb. 10, USU’s community is invited to learn more about Black history in the state of Utah through a temporary museum exhibit on view in the Taggart Student Center from 10 am to 3 pm. The Utah Black History Museum, Nora Eccles Harrison Museum of Art, and USU Libraries will display artifacts and art from their collections.

Additionally, students can sign up to meet with participating Black alumni at a networking night on Feb. 23. Largely organized by Athletics and CEHS, the evening event will bring current and former Aggies together to share stories and solicit advice for post-graduation goals.

“It should give them the opportunity to meet some trailblazers and hear their thoughts on their experiences, but just as important, hear their love for their alma mater,” said Jimmy Moore, a participating CEHS alum and retired USU administrator.

While February’s initiatives focus on highlighting and celebrating Utah State’s Black community, Business alum Alvin D. Logan, Sr. said he would like to see the university continue its commitment to diversity in meaningful and lasting ways.

“USU will benefit by increasing its representation of cultures throughout the U.S. and the world. If we can effectively mirror society, we will be a stronger, more relevant educational experience and more effective in society.”

Taylor also sees these events as a chance to create a greater sense of belonging at USU. 

“We want to help all of our students past, present, and future feel truly connected to Utah State. Celebrating events like this, bringing folks together, is one great way to help build and rebuild these connections.”

A full listing of USU’s Black History Month events can be accessed here: https://www.usu.edu/dei/black-history-month


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