Monday, October 18, 2010

ND Black Community Goes to Town on the Issues!

On a blustery, but beautiful Saturday evening on campus, the Black Alumni Board welcomed current students, administrators and local alumni to its first ever Town Hall Meeting to discuss the issues that affect Notre Dame's black community most significantly.

Members of the panel included:

  • Rochelle Valsaint (BA_ND Chairperson)
  • LaShane Saddler (African-American Admissions Recruiter)
  • Brittany Suggs (Black Student Association President)
  • LaDawn Burnett (Black Law Students Association President)
  • Amelia Thompson (BA_ND Communications Director)
  • Richard Ryans (BA_ND Co-Founder/Current Vice-Chairperson)
  • Bobby Brown (BA_ND Regional Director)

The turnout was amazing, with over 40 in attendance! The conversation started sharply at 6pm and went well beyond the intended two hours!

The conversation ranged from classroom culture to the changes in the black student body over the years. Many expressed a decrease in the sense of unity among Notre Dame's current black student body. Another hot topic was the need for increased interaction between current students and BA. The students stressed the importance of alumni support, whether in the form of a phone call, an email or a friendly face during a game weekend.

Another popular discussion point was the divide between the student-athlete and the "regular" student. There seemed to be a general consensus among the current students of a clear separation between the two groups' interactions. Former athletes Bobby Brown and Reggie Brooks offered insight into this issue, while encouraging current students- athlete or not- to approach each other with respect and consideration.

Though the meeting had its serious moments, spirits were high as the Town Hall wrapped. In various corners of the room, business cards and email addresses were being exchanged. "This
has to become a tradition," quite a few remarked.

And most importantly the sense of a newly unified black community filled the air.

Major thank you and congratulations to Kyree Blackwell ND '07 for organizing this incredible event!

Getting Down to Business With the Black Alumni Board

The weekend of September 30-October 3, the 20 members of the Black Alumni Board trekked to campus for three packed days of meetings, dinners and an amazing townhall!

Issues at the forefront of the conversation included:
  • Ways to increase successful recruitment of black students
  • Wonderful strides in black student admissions this past fall
  • The impressive Seminar for African-American Scholars program
  • Planning for Fall/Spring signature events- ND vs. Army game in NY, The Frazier Affair
  • Improving methods to communicate with Black Alumni across ages, class years, locations, etc
  • Notre Dame's brand-new alumni website myNotreDame
But no worries, Domers, the weekend wasn't strictly business. From the wildly successful first ever Black Alumni Board-sponsored Townhall Meeting to a beautiful Saturday evening Mass led by Father Hesburgh, there was plenty of fun had with current black students and local BA alike!

Enjoy pictures from the weekend below. Also leave comments so we can know what you think are the most important issues for BA_ND to focus on!

Our Vice-Chair Richard Ryans has a pensive moment in LaFortune

Vice-Chair Richard Ryans and Chairwoman Rochelle Valsaint handling some business!

The Mentoring Committee brainstorming ideas!

The Recruiting Committee planning our strategy to attract the best and brightest!

Bar Louie Funnnnnn! Oh, Louie, Louie ;)

A Visit from former BA_ND Board Member Gina Shropshire!

Minority Alum Board Mass with Father Ted- what an incredible moment!

The Message of Mass...Come Holy Spirit

The MAN Board Game Watch in the Eck Center

Who knew star wide receiver Bobby Brown also had cheerleading abilities?

Enjoying a major ND win with new ND Law School friends!