BSA Celebrates Family Weekend

Gabrielle L. Peterson ’16
Contributing Writer

The Black Student Association of Smith College started their 45th year as a chartered organization at with a bang. Their party on Oct. 4 admitted students from a large selection of colleges who flocked to the Carroll Room to mingle and dance. Weeks later, on Oct. 27, BSA members sold soul food dinners to students and families during Family Weekend. Chanda Chin ’15, co-chair of the BSA said, “It was a day filled with food, fun and the great ladies of Smith College BSA.”

Prior to the event, the Executive Board spent many hours purchasing the food, prepping and cooking. Pamela Young, Director of the Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, assumed a pivotal role in the funding and the food shopping. Essence White ’15, Black Arts and Cultural Chair, said, “I did all the cooking except for the home-made corn bread, Alex Williams ’15 did that. The E-Board and some of the general body members helped with prepping the food by peeling apples and potatoes.”

White used recipes that she learned from her mother, who was in attendance, and her grandmother. She said, “One of the main recipes that I feel is very special in making my food genuinely delicious and puts the soul in soul food is that I cook [with] heart. My grandmother and mother never really had a legitimate recipe book with measurements that they followed; it just came to them naturally. You learned how to cook just from watching them. After a while it becomes natural to you too.” White prepared all of the food with seeming ease. When asked about the difficulty of cooking, she said, “I already enjoyed cooking, so it was fun combining my love for cooking and spending time with my Smith sisters.”

On Saturday afternoon, large welcome signs covered the railing and the front porch of the Mwangi Cultural Center. Upon entering, guests found white cloths covering the tables in the Mwangi Center, as well as a long table facing the window full of classic soul food cuisine. Fried chicken, barbecued chicken, collard greens, baked macaroni and cheese, candied yams, potato salad and corn bread were all available for guests to choose from. For dessert, there was banana pudding, peach cobbler and a dish called “apple crap.” Mylasha Furlonge, co-chair of the BSA, thanked all of those who came to the event. To the parents, she said, “I really appreciate your support for the BSA. Thank you for coming out to our fundraiser.”

Parents in attendance gained insight into the support system that is available to their children. While most brochures highlight house community and faculty, BSA hoped their fundraiser would serve as a testament to the importance of cultural organizations. Guests were enthused by the delicious food at the event and the kindness of the BSA members. Lanita Butler, mother of secretary Alexys Butler ’16, said, “It has been a wonderful event” with “very tasty” food. “It creates a feeling of camaraderie.”

Mount Holyoke students who attended, including student representatives Alison Cross ’14 and Tiana Hamilton ’14 from the MHC Association of Pan-African Unity, also praised the food and atmosphere at the event. Cross said, “The food is amazing! The women of Smith’s BSA are incredibly hospitable and create an extremely welcoming environment. APU looks forward to supporting Smith BSA’s future endeavors.”

Upcoming BSA events include the Thanksgiving Celebration in November and the Kwanzaa Celebration in December. The Black Student Alliance meets regularly on Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Mwangi Center.

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