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University Celebrates Black History Month

Graydon Paul
To commemorate Black History Month, Connelly Center is displaying posters of events.

Every February, the Nation comes together to celebrate Black History Month. Created in order to acknowledge achievements and amplify Black voices, Black History Month is honored every February. Villanova is celebrating this month by co-hosting and supporting a multitude of student events.

“This month, Villanova will celebrate African American and Black people throughout history and within our community,” the University shared on its Instagram account.

Villanova organizations, most notably the Black Student Union, are hosting a variety of events throughout the month. One of the biggest events is the annual Black History Month Showcase. This year it will take place on Feb. 24. 

“We have a lot of exciting events planned in the upcoming weeks, but I am most excited for our Black History Month Showcase,” Black Student Union Event Coordinator Corban Rogers said. “It is happening on Feb. 24, 2024 in the Villanova Room and we will celebrate Black excellence, in various aspects, displayed here on campus as well as throughout the history of our culture as a people.”

This event includes a multitude of categories, including Mr. and Miss Black Class Award, Mr. and Miss Academic College Award, Mr. and Miss Highest GPA Award, Service and Advocacy Awards, Student Organization Awards, Extracurricular Awards and Style Awards. 

“We anticipate the evening being filled with recognition and celebration as we honor the outstanding achievements and contributions of our Black students,” Black Student Union Co-Vice President Kentron White said. “This prestigious event will aim to spotlight the remarkable accomplishments of those who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, academic excellence and a commitment to making a positive impact on both campus and the broader community.”

Alongside the Black Excellence Awards, the Black Student Union is also hosting a Brunch Night on Feb. 8 in the Cyber Lounge in the Connelly Center. On Feb. 9, LASO will be hosting a Black History in the Diaspora Community Dance Class, supported by the Superlative, Wazobia and Ablaze. 

“As one of the cultural dance groups on campus, we are co-sponsoring this event to spread the word about dembow, a style of dance popular in the Dominican Republic,” Ablaze member Danielle Cappelli said. “Our goal is to share this piece of Afro Latino history with the Villanova community.”

Some other events being held this month include Stepping into Black History (Stepping/Body Percussion Workshop), Screening of “Riotsville, USA” and Q&A, BHM Professional Development Networking Panel and Brunch and Men’s Basketball vs. Georgetown: UNITAS in Athletics Game. 

“[I] encourage all students to stop by some of the Black Student Union’s events throughout the month to learn something new and to hopefully sympathize with the experiences of their Black peers,” senior Lydia McFarlane said. 

These events and others are just part of the Black History Month celebration at Villanova. Historically, the University has celebrated in a variety of ways. Whether it is cultural food in the dining halls or having a variety of guest speakers covering a multitude of topics and categories, Villanovan has a reputation for allotting a variety of topics to its students. 

“I believe Villanova is doing a pretty amazing job in celebrating Black History Month,” sophomore Bobbie Kemoi said. “From the highlighting of the Black organizations and their events this month to also promoting the specific programming in social media is amazing in bringing awareness to Black History this February, as well as emphasizing inclusion on campus.” 

While a lot of students are content with the work Villanova is doing to promote diversity and inclusion, there is still improvement to be made in the future. 

“In regards to the University and the hand that [it plays] in celebrating and creating space for Black History Month and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts, I believe that [it does its] part in making sure that our culture is recognized by hanging banners and expressing the importance of the month in University-issued statements,” Rogers said. “The University could implement events that emphasize the importance of not only the reason why the month is here, but the prominent figures who pave the way for the success of many African Americans both in this country and here on campus, as well.”

“Celebrating Black History Month at a Primarily White Institution like Villanova is incredibly important,” McFarlane said. “It highlights the often difficult experiences of Black students, faculty and staff, while celebrating their contributions to this campus. While Villanova has a long way to go in becoming a more diverse space, celebrating Black History every day during the month of February is a great way for the community to learn about how to become a better and more comfortable space for all students.” 

Students who have been at Villanova for a few years have seen an increase in effort for inclusion here on campus.

“When first arriving on campus freshman year I didn’t feel as supported as I do now,” junior Josh Umenyiora said. “There [are] a lot of outside sources students of color can obtain for support but I do feel like there is more work to be done by Villanova to make sure all students of color are supported.”

Black History Month, and the events being held at the University, are being eagerly anticipated by a multitude of students within the University.

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About the Contributors
Lauren Armstrong, Co-News Editor
Lauren Armstrong is a sophomore Public Service and Administration and Communication double major and is in her first year as one of the Co-News Editors for 2024. Lauren’s passion for politics and on campus events has led her to cover a variety of stories since her freshman year. Lauren prides herself in her very detailed and color-coded Google Calendar, and when she is not running around campus between classes and a million meetings, she can be found making the best lattes at the Conn Holy Grounds.
Graydon Paul, Photography Editor
Graydon Paul is a junior Computer Engineering Major in her second year as Photography Editor. As the editor, she edits photos for every issue, making sure they highlight and fit the context of each article. Apart from The Villanovan, Graydon is a huge sports fan, loves to read, collect records, and do anything outside with her two labs, Scotch and Özil. However, that sports fandom has drawn the ire of several Villanovan editors, as Graydon is a devoted supporter of her hometown Dallas Cowboys.
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