Iowa State’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) operates to create a place of belonging for Black students at the university.
With Iowa State being a predominately white institution (PWI), minority students often struggle to find a place of belonging. The BSA aims to fill that gap at Iowa State.
While being a community-orientated organization, the BSA also promotes philanthropic ventures through partnering with organizations like the Des Moines Black Liberation Movement.
“We’re basically a family,” said Jaydon Value, a junior in entrepreneurship who serves as the BSA’s publicity chair. “The Black population on campus is very low, 2 or 3 percent. So definitely having that community of people who you can bond with, you can confide with, that's really what we are.”
On an average congregation of the BSA, they hold general audience meetings where anyone is allowed to attend. The meeting consists of discussing various topics relevant to the BSA and people on campus or hanging out with each other, furthering the community aspect by serving as a social group.
On occasion, the BSA will meet with other student organizations such as the African Student Association to discuss issues that are plaguing both of them as it revolves around race and their experiences on campus.
Serving as the only overarching Black student organization, the BSA fills in the place of the NAACP, which has seemingly faded out from existence on campus.
Initially called the Black Student Organization in 1968 when it was founded at Iowa State, the organization was founded to support Iowa State’s Black students and voice grievances around issues pertaining to Black students at the time. The BSA had undergone changes and eventually settled on the current name and evolved the mission of the organization.
As the BSA has gone on, they have adapted into new movements. Working with Des Moines Black Lives Matter, the organizations held a joint event Saturday in Ames. The event was a bake sale with all proceeds going toward funding a grant intended for Black creatives.
“We do participate in a conference yearly,” Value added. “This will actually be our 44th year participating in it.”
The BSA also attends the annual Big XII Conference. A Black leadership conference not to be confused with the NCAA’s various Big 12 Conference, Iowa State is set to host the conference in 2022.
This year's Big XII Conference will be hosted by Kansas State University on Feb. 26 and 27 virtually, where Iowa State’s BSA will continue their tradition of attendance.
The BSA meets from 7 to 8:30 p.m. every other Thursday in Pearson 2105.