Black Resource Center hosting community check-ins for current, prospective students amid pandemic

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The Black Resource Center.

by Johann Derek Oribello, Senior Staff Writer

Despite the coronavirus pandemic forcing many changes on campus — such as the removal of campus residents and the cancellation of events — San Diego State’s Black Resource Center has made efforts to maintain a sense of community among current and prospective students.

Black Resource Center Director and Africana studies lecturer Bonnie Reddick said the center has shifted its focus to retaining current and incoming students by contacting and reaching out to them during the stay-at-home order, which was imposed upon all Californians last month.

“We are focusing our attention to calling new admits to ensure them that we are still very interested in them coming to SDSU,” Reddick said. “Our students have described their experience at SDSU to the new admits and forged new friendships.” 

Political science senior Tiana Loving said the center’s approach has been an illuminating experience during a time of isolation.

“Reaching out to our newly admitted students and current underclassmen has been the highlight of this transition for me so far,” Loving said. “Encouraging them through motivating messages, introduction of effective virtual resources and providing myself as someone to lean on during this shift will hopefully assist in their success this semester.” 

On their social media pages, the center has continued to post updates informing students of the programs and events they are continuing to host despite the campus closure. One program includes a weekly community check-in that students can participate in via Zoom to keep up with their peers.

Loving said the weekly community check-ins provide an excellent way for students to stay connected with each other in spite of the societal changes the pandemic has brought over the past three weeks.

“They give students a chance to take their minds off of the quarantine and strengthen the friendships between one another,” Loving said. “Students are able to share funny stories, the highlights of their weeks and ultimately bring some normalcy in a time of change.”

Interdisciplinary studies senior Chidera Ezeani said the weekly check-ins help keep students included, informed and focused on their health and wellbeing.

“I think it was a wonderful idea because we all get to share our thoughts and ideas during this very difficult time,” Ezeani said. “I believe it is keeping us mentally in check so that students don’t feel lost or depressed during this self-isolation period.”

Reddick said the management of its services during this time is essential to the center’s overall mission statement of supporting the well being of black students. 

“It is very important to maintain our services during this time of quarantine. The one thing Black students love about the BRC is the sense of community,” Reddick said. “The BRC’s mission is to recruit, retain and support black students with excellence. Our mission remains the same (despite the pandemic).”

Reddick also said the state’s stay-at-home order is not going to stop the center from accomplishing its goals of fostering a strong communal sense amongst its students. 

“We are planning virtual experiences that continue to support them,” Reddick said. “We will have our Black Men and Women’s Healing Circles, workshops on black hair, Linkedin and Social Branding and a virtual celebration for our graduating seniors, just to name a few.”

Weekly check-ins are held every Wednesday with a Zoom link provided on the center’s social media pages. More information and updates regarding other events hosted by the Black Resource Center can be found on their Instagram or Facebook page.

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