Emergence of Black Student Union Promotes Excellence and Leadership


When junior sociology major Jaquay Thomas heard about a Black Student Union that had formed around the late 70s/early 80s at McMurry, a vision came to him.

“I thought about it, but it didn’t keep me up at night,” mentioned Thomas. However, soon after, Erica Medina was looking for young, black leaders to take on a leadership conference.

“She mentioned that out of McMurry’s demographic statistics, she could only mention roughly three black leaders on campus,” added Thomas, “I knew there needed to be change.”

As Thomas pondered about the change that needed to be made, he brought along like-minded individuals who shared a similar vision. Thus, a Black Student Union was formed to commence the 2020 school year. Those who helped Thomas launch McMurry’s BSU are Traya Joiner, Michael Dontae Chambers, and Gwendolyn Murchison.

I the flame, We the fire were the words that inspired the ambitious BSU group throughout the Southern Black Student Leadership Conference. As the young leaders came back from the conference, they now had a myriad of ideas, organization, and a fire waiting to be ignited throughout whole McMurry.

“We are striding to impact the black community here on campus by maintaining higher GPA’s among our students, more student participation, and more young, black students providing intellect and service to the McMurry atmosphere,” commented Thomas.

Although the black student community around McMurry mostly compromises student athletes, the BSU hopes to combine an ability to perform athletically, along with, a development of an individual’s full intellectual potential.

“Students within the black community will now feel like they have an outlet to have their voice heard,” said Gwendolyn Murchison. Murchison is a junior psychology major who is also involved in numerous other clubs, including McMurry Student Government.

Sponsoring the young and ambitious leaders is Erika Sabb. A native of Round Rock, TX, Sabb attended both undergraduate and graduate school at ACU. Sabb is the resident director and housing coordinator at McMurry. “Conversations about creating a Black Student Union (BSU) began with a group of students who have a deep passion for promoting cultural awareness, cultural unity, and seeking out professional and academic development opportunities for black students at McMurry,” commented Sabb. As conversations grew about re-chartering a Black Student Union, Sabb saw it as her personal mission to sponsor the ambitious leaders.

Sabb—aside from providing the young leaders with a great foundation—is a champion of diversity and cares deeply about creating safe spaces for all students. “The creation of the BSU will help educate all McMurry students about black culture and more about our current students,” said Sabb. “The biggest goal for BSU is to be a community that seeks to enhance the social, intellectual and cultural life of our entire student population and within the BSU organization. We want to support each other and strive for excellence in all things together.” 

The Black Student Union will be holding numerous events throughout Black History Month, including: a joint event with CAB hosting a black poet at Monk’s on February 17th and a game night on the 18th. Aside from the events celebrating Black history Month, the BSU will be cooperating with the RSL department by hosting a table of remembrance for the fallen black leaders in the Carleton Chapel.

  “Our culture is underrepresented in our campus,” said junior psychology major Jaden Jones. “BSU’s are present on campuses across the U.S., and I’m glad I can say that with the emergence of the BSU at McMurry, they will push for great representation of not just our culture, but an inclusive community for all.”