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!