Saturday, February 19, 2011

BSU around the World...Summer Updates!!


During Finals Week, one often wishes for summer vacation to arrive quickly, just so we can enjoy some serenity and have a moments peace.

Of course, what ends up happening seems like a scene out of Recess:

But more like this:
If you ARE anything like me, you spent most of the summer working, lounging around, and watching David Tutera and Cake Boss marathons on WE and TLC. 

BUT, more likely you were like these bunch of our members, exploring the country/world and generally doing more exciting things:

"pictures :)
from man vs. food road trip with my friend Stephanie Hassel. We visited Brett Clark!
and my birthday"
Olivia with Stephanie, I assume...
...and Brett
Olivia turns 20
Aww, congrats!

This recently graduated BSU alumnae just accepted her first job! I will be serving in a year long position as an Economic Research Project Coordinator at Sonoma County Economic Development Board in Santa Rosa, CA. I just bought a car and will be heading out on Sunday to become a California Girl! My job starts on July 15th.  My leadership and experience with the Black Student Union were certainly one of my strengths as an applicant and one of the reasons I was hired!  I will let you know how the job is going and of course I plan to visit Whitman sometime next year!


We're proud of you, Sarah, and thrilled that you are doing well!


Demonstrating the epitome of summer. No words are necessary: we know he had fun.

' Hope your summer was amazing!


Friday, February 18, 2011

The Last BSU Meeting, May 2010

Another beautiful day in Walla Walla brought our last BSU meeting of the school year. We had decided that since Finals Week (yes, capitalized) was upon us, it'b be best to have a last get together and enjoy each other's company while we still could.

The Girls and Yonas
Nick and Olivia decided to make use of one of the many attributes of the Glover-Alston Center--the kitchen--to cook up some deliciousness.

Bao-Tram is excited as Nick, Olivia and Allan stir up some goodies
As alway when we are together as a club, we were very comfortable around each other...telling stories, cracking jokes.
Tumi laughs at...with... Allan and Nick in the corner
There was even an impromptu dance party as Yonas, Robert, and Tumi had it out to Rihanna's "Rude Boy" blasting from Sarah's laptop! THAT was not to be missed--they're all really great dancers!

Listening to Rihanna prompted discussion about the theme of the next dance--there was a excitement for a Soca/Dancehall/Reggaeton-Caribbean theme and the logistics were already in the works.

We munched on Nick's treats with beef stew and had a blast. All good things come to an end, however, and soon we had to disperse and say goodbye to Sarah (at BSU meetings) one last time.

Thanks for the memories...
We had a great year at Whitman College and were looking forward to the next year when our new ideas could come to fruition. 

Until then!

Love, BSU

Thursday, February 17, 2011

End of the Year Reception (a.k.a Goodbye Sarah Deming!)

As the school year drew to a rapid close last year, BSU still had a few events left to wrap up, primarily the End of the Year Faculty Reception Dinner. It was a beautiful and warm sunny day on the Whitman campus and at 4pm members began to head over to the amazing Baker Faculty Center to begin setting up.

Nick prepares for the slide show
Olivia, our computer technician for the evening
Bon Appetit was gracious enough to cater the event--the food certainly looked amazing and we all could not wait to try it!
The beautiful table settings
The anxious line for food
We invited more than 20 professors and many of them showed us the honor of attending! Among those I had the pleasure of meeting were Professors Noah Leavitt and Helen Kim of the Sociology department along with their beautiful son...
The Professors are intrigued by Tumi's scintillating conversation
...our Advisor Professor Nadine Knight of the English Department (left)....

Professor Knight and her colleagues are all smiles
... Professor Jacqueline Woodfork of History...

Olivia and Bao-Tram share conversation with Professor Woodfork
...and Juli Dunn of the Academic Resource Center.
Laetitiah and me with Juli
One of our main goals with this event every year is to network and form connections with staff and faculty on campus, along with creating awareness of Black Student Union on campus. We were proud with the huge success the afternoon turned out to be!

Allan speaks with a professor while Juli is animated in the background
Enjoying a conversation around the table
After everyone had sat down and was comfortable...

 Presidents Tumisang Mothei and Nick Chow gathered everyone's attention.

All eyes are on Nick and Tumi
After introductory remarks, the slide show put together by Olivia compiling photos from our events during the year is shown.

The show begins...
Then the moment our members were waiting for finally came: time to honor Sarah Deming! Sarah served as BSU President for two years and as Secretary in her last semester. She was involved in everything from a sorority to the Whitman Investment Company to the A-Team--a list too long to mention even here. We respect her and admire and truly miss her now that she's gone! She's off to bigger and better things and we we really to show our appreciation for her and all she's done for BSU! 

Earlier in the afternoon, Nick and I ventured off campus and bought Sarah two beautiful bouquets of rich red roses, complete with wrapping.

Nick and I smile for Sarah!
A beautiful card went around and all of our members wrote touching notes to Sarah about how much she means to them.

Nick and I presented the gifts to her in front of the crowd--she was very surprised and happy.

Sarah with her sucessors
To conclude the wonderful afternoon, all guests still remaining gathered on the grand staircase to take a photo to commemorate the day.

Thank to everyone who came and shared this day with us!

Love, BSU

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Soul Food Night is quickly approaching, guys!

Next Friday, October 22, in  Prentiss Dining Hall, it's going down!.

BE THERE for...

  • MUSIC!!


Friday, October 15, 2010

More Gory Gorey GUMBOOT!

Last school year, the gumboot dance group was a popular group on campus. Gumboot made its big debut at the International Banquet in February and since then, the group has been on the rise. Quite a few of BSU's own members double in this group, including Nick (founder), myself, Tish, and Allan, and from this year, Alejandro Fuentes and Thabo Liphoto.

But the big event for gumboot was the End of the Year Showcase where we would perform a piece in front of a live audience! Constant recruiting and four hour practices for months and finally the big day arrived! The week of the event we practiced from six pm until 9:30 every day--it was tough!

Chelsea, Katie and Claire toughing it out
Backstage, once makeup was found, fought over, and applied, much of the rest of the time was spent doing homework while each group took turns practicing on the stage. We had run into quite a few problems with our Shosholoza performance: first, our "gum boots" were not allowed on the stage, which we felt greatly detracted from the name of our group (Gumboot). It was because od this that the name Shosholoza came about. We had tried adding a platform to the front of the stage where we could use our boots, but it turned out to be dangerously tiny (and wobbly!) After much more trials, we decided to stick to sneakers, and although we were disappointed, we soon became in good spirits.

Hari's bright smile put us all in a good mood
It was not all work and pain, though. Waiting was a good time for bonding and playing group games. We started the tradition of playing a fun, quick game before our performances to get ourselves pumped and excited. We always had lots of fun!

Hannah shares her bright smile with another performer
in full stage makeup down under
We had a great response from the crowd, and thankfully, no one messed up! It was an amazing way to end for the year.
the gumboot team at the International Banquet
Great job gumboot! Come back even stronger this year!

And no, I did not leave you hanging! Here is the video from the More Gory Gorey showcase, brought to you by the Whitman Dance Theater. Enjoy!



Saturday, October 2, 2010

Gumboot, Bhanghra, and the Imagine Festival!

Saturday April 24th was an eventful day on the Whitman campus. Between the Renaissance Fair, the sports games, and the Imagine Festival--brought to us by the amazing Intercultural Center--no one was left without something to do! In fact, many people planned ahead to do everything!

The day before, though, was Nick's nineteenth birthday! Sorry this is late, but we are sure you celebrated and had fun. 
BSU spent the early afternoon on Reid Side Lawn, the scene the Imagine Festival. At the festival, clubs sign up for a spot and prepare all sorts of fun activities for everyone to enjoy. We ourselves had passed through many potential activities on the quest for the perfect event--jeopardy games, to Name-that-Black-guy, to races--until Allan came up with the perfect idea: handprints!

Mukulu Mweu, who manages the Intercultural Center
The idea was that we'd have a large sheet of high-quality paper and and array of different colors of paint...

...and everyone who stopped by could make a handprint on the paper! 

It was the perfect easy and fun idea for what was becoming a lovely spring day.

Sarah Deming and friend enjoying our booth!
We had a lot of traffic at our table--everybody wanted in on the fun!

Students enjoying the memories handpainting brought on from the kindergarten days.
Mukulu marvels at the rainbow of colors on her hands while Tumi captures the memories
By the end of the event, our canvas of identities was overflowing with beautiful colors.

What a beautiful finished product! 

With the wind threatening to blow it right out of my hands, I sturggled back to my section lounge with nine feet of paper in tow, where I let it dry for a few days.

Still too wet!
To commemorate the day, I painted over with black the title "Imagine-2010" and added the iconic BSU logo to dot the i's. 
Can you imagine (heh heh) me lugging this around?
After THAT dried, we presented the finished artpiece to Mukulu...
Mukulu and her son!
who had it laminated to last longer. The finished product hangs outside of the Glover-Alston Center (GAC--where we hold our BSU meetings) to this day!
Bao-Tram and I show it off at its new home
 I have heard many funny stories with first years who refer to the GAC as "the Imagine building". Oh silly first years. Well, we have to make a mark somehow!

But the Imagine Festival was filled with all other sorts of activities, including a performance from the campus Gumboot Dance group, who had their first performance in three months! Many of BSUs members were (and are) part of Gumboot, including creator-president Nick, yours truly, Allan, and Laetitiah!

Shosholoza postion, everyone!
We were all super nervous! Thankfully, Sarah, Olivia, and Tish took lots of pictures.
 For those who don't know, though, Gumboot is a South African dance that is inspired from workers in mines.

 Since they weren't allowed to communicate verbally, they developed a complex way of communicating by clapping, stomping and splashing the water with their boots--thus, gumboot!

Us clapping, stopping, and splashing, um, the stage
It's very active and so much fun! 
There's Nick, front and center, and me, sort of in the back :)
We had opened the show for the main performance and after a loud round of applause, hollers, and cheers, sang a song...

...and took a bow.

And since everyone enjoyed it so much, I'm posting a portion of the performance here, via video! Be warned, though, it's not our best.

After our performance, the main attraction took the stage. The Interculutural Center had brought University of Washington's Bhanghra Dance group!

Here's a little information on Bhanghra from Wikipedia:
Bhaṅgṛā is a form of dance and music that originated in the Punjab region. Bhangra dance began as a folk dance conducted by Punjabi Sikh farmers to celebrate the coming of the harvest season. The specific moves of Bhangra reflect the manner in which villagers farmed their land. This dance art further became synthesized after the partition of India, when refugees from different parts of the Punjab shared their folk dances with individuals who resided in the regions they settled in. This hybrid dance became Bhangra. The folk dance has been popularised in the western world by Punjabi Sikhs and is seen in the West as an expression of South Asian culture as a whole. Today, Bhangra dance survives in different forms and styles all over the globe – including pop music, film soundtracks, collegiate competitions and even talent shows.
The beautiful colors certainly brightened up the day and the stage!

The performers were very friendly and interactive with the crowd and after their performance, they even gave lessons! There was a little mob pit at the base of the stage where everyone had gathered to join the dance.

All in all, their presence was a success and the Imagine Festival came to a graceful close. Thanks for coming!

There was still one major event left, though: Sarah's birthday party!

Yes, Sarah and Nick had birthdays back-to-back, wow! Congrats, Sarah! We hope you enjoyed your big twenty-two!
Enjoying the night at Sarah's
And so the long day (and night) came to a close. Hope you had as much fun reading about our experiences as we did living them!