95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Black Graduate Student Association Approved at GVSU


 Fluarry Jackson is studying a Masters in Social Work and in Public Administration and ReChard Peel is a Student Affairs Leadership master’s student. On Monday they got news that their application to form the Black Graduate Student Association at Grand Valley State University was approved. Jackson says the group has been working on this for months.

“I was interested at first in starting a students of color organization and ReChard was interested in starting a Black graduate student association, and like I said, the dean connected us because we both wanted to create a space for students of color to come and just share experiences and have new experiences for networking and professional development.”

Beyond the professional aspect, Jackson and Peel say they want the Black Graduate Student Organization to be a safe space for students of color to discuss the common challenges they face on a majority-white campus.

“Being the only person of color in some of our classes, there’s an experience that comes with that. It may be that we’re discussing issues of race and then we are being chosen as the person to be that spokesperson, right. There’s also running into micro-aggressions.

Now that the association is approved, Peel says their priorities are to connect with similar student groups on campus.

“We’ve talked about making some connections with some undergraduate organizations and building up some mentoring, things like that. And helping undergraduates facilitate their transition from undergraduate level into graduate school if that’s what they’re interested in.” 

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
Related Content