New NBSW changes, recruitment approaches suggested at Black Caucus 

New NBSW changes, recruitment approaches suggested at Black Caucus 

By Tiana Woodard

Students left the Black Caucus Tuesday with possibilities of expanding New Black Student Weekend to upperclassmen and new ideas for reaching prospective freshmen.

This semester’s Caucus, co-hosted by Onyx Honor Society and the African American Culture Committee, gave around 70 students the chance to discuss topics impacting the Black community in the WCP Ballroom from 6-8 p.m. 

“{The Black Caucus) brings people together from different organizations, different majors, different years so they can all get receptive on what’s going on,” Taylor Watson, Black Student Alliance vice president and attendee, said. “What are their ideas, what did they think about this, how can we fix some issues that are in our community?” 

Instead of having a group of student panelists lead the Caucus like last semester, attendees sat in a square formation and passed around a microphone when sharing a question or comment. 

This structure created a more cohesive conversation by ensuring that students talked with someone and not at them, said Adraint Bereal, Onyx Honor Society president. 

“There’s already a charged nature of not sitting directly next to the people you’re supposed to be engaging in conversation with,” Bereal said. 

Organizers divided the Caucus into five topics: information attendees wish they had entering UT, improving communication in the Black community, improving mentorship, physical and mental wellbeing and open discussion. 

Some students expressed concerns about Black organization often scheduling events at the same time. One student said the issue lies in people not caring about impacting event turnout rather than lack of communication. 

“Presidents and orgs should shift their focus in terms of time and have a conversation during the executive meetings of, ‘Hey, let’s decide a time for this event. Do you guys know anything else that’s happening at the same time?’” one student said. 

The current timing and organization of NBSW also didn’t sit well with some students. Many said they missed out on the weekend retreat or didn’t keep in touch with people they met during the school year. 

“All of my team members … were like, ‘Are we gonna be friends for NBSW and then just not know each other again?”’ one student said. “People didn’t really know what to grasp outside of that weekend.” 

When discussing Black recruitment, some attendees said they wished they knew when Black prospective students visited UT. 

Brianna McBride, AACC president, said that in order to connect with prospective students, the UT Black community has to make themselves accessible. 

“If you feel like you want that change, you have to make yourself available for that change,” McBride said. “You have to put yourself in those positions.”

McBride also said that as a member of UT’s executive board of admissions, she’ll help in letting Black students know when prospective Black students are visiting campus.

In addition to leaving the event with a sense of calmness, Bereal said he hopes that every attendee left with a new sense of responsibility. 

“It takes a village, and maybe not everyone in the village wants to do the heavy lifting, and a lot of times, that leaves a lot of weight on student leaders,” Bereal said. “If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to reach out.”