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CUC’s Multicultural Clubs Struggle to Acquire Members

Julian Perez
Sophomore Tyler Trickey and Latino Student Union president Alexis Holliday, a junior, at the CUC Student Involvement Fair on Sept. 6.

The multicultural clubs at CUC are facing a membership crisis.

The Latino Student Union (LSU) took until mid-October to fully staff their leadership board, while the Black Student Union (BSU) just on Oct. 18 elected a board for the 2023-2024 school year.

The club leaders say that fewer students are participating or seem interested in taking on leadership roles. The most recent LSU meeting saw five students attend. At the first BSU meeting this fall, the club president was the only student who showed up.

Aside from a lack of interest, three different faculty advisors have overseen the multicultural clubs over the past two years. The most recent advisor who oversaw these clubs was Marcus Geralds, who was the advisor for student success through the summer of 2023. Before the beginning of the fall semester, he had left CUC for a position at the University of Illinois Chicago. 

“I had hope before all of this happened, and I was excited,” said junior Yasmin Carrillo, vice president of the LSU. “I didn’t know that this was going to happen, and I was the last one to find out.” 

The longest-serving advisor for these clubs in recent years was former director of campus engagement Blanca Correa. Her role falls under Gary Ireland, associate dean of students, vocation, and academic success, who oversees all clubs on campus.

After Correa left CUC in 2022 for Saint Xavier University, Kylie Gilmore took over the role. During the transition period, Correa helped Gilmore learn how to run the multicultural clubs.  At the same time, student leaders worked with their new faculty advisors to set goals and expectations.

“We, the students, are the ones to tell them how to run things,” said Dae McAdory, BSU president. “When people are settled, they learn more and grow more, and what they learn from their surroundings, they can pass down to the next generation.”

Gilmore left at the end of the 2023 school year. Multicultural club leaders and CUC staff said they were unprepared for her departure. “After Kylie left, our bones were shaken,” said LSU president Alexis Holliday.

To fill in the faculty leadership, Samantha Seggerson, director of campus engagement, decided to step in and help. “I know there are a lot of students who feel that they do not have a mentor or advisor on campus,” said Seggerson, who previously was only advising the Campus Activities Board and the Student Government Association. “Even though I can’t feel everything or know their whole story, I know what it feels like to be new, and my office is in charge of overseeing all clubs.”

Both the LSU and BSU are meant to be governed by a five-person executive board. Holliday was appointed by former LSU president America Sanchez before she graduated. LSU was able to fulfill its vacancies in mid-October with junior Leilani Marquez as secretary, sophomore Diego Marron, and senior Julian Perez.

McAdory served on the BSU board last year as vice president and assumed the role of president for the 2023-2024 year. After a meeting on Oct. 17, the board for BSU is sophomore Timothy Johnson as event coordinator, LSU president Holliday serving an additional role as treasurer, freshman Majesty Lewis as marketing, and Javion Hooks as vice president. 

Before the 2023 year, elections were typically held in the spring to determine the upcoming board president. Members of the club would run for either of the five roles and the students who were a part of the club would vote for who they deemed fit to take on the role. 

Neither Holliday nor Carrillo have been on the LSU board before this year. “I have been helping LSU a lot more right now since they need it the most, being that they are a relatively new board, and because they are passionate and driven and a great crew,” said Seggerson. 

Even with all these challenges, the clubs have been “hitting the ground running,”  McAdory said, facing the challenges thrown at them with no advisor or filled-up executive board. 

“As of right now, I am comfortable since we have a support system with Sam helping us,” Carrillo said. “At first I was a little uncomfortable because we didn’t have enough members but seeing how we work together I became more comfortable.”

Although student participation in multicultural clubs is down, CUC remains a majority non-white college. According to the last university profile, the incoming freshmen this fall are 39% white, 39% Hispanic, and 12% African American.

“A big population of black students are athletes, which is a huge commitment of time and effort, on top of an academic career,” McAdory said. 

These clubs are trying to work around these obstacles by meeting the students halfway. They held their first combined event of the year with the traditional s’mores night on Aug. 31, which everyone could attend at the Triangle. BSU had set up this event with Geralds before he left, making it run smoother. 

“To be more successful as a student on campus or group, faculty, and staff have to be there and be a role model of that, how can you expect students to put on events or to be wonderful leaders if there are not any staff members that they can look up too,” said Seggerson. 

The support of the students and staff at Concordia can help these clubs prosper throughout the year, Seggerson said. Even if the staff members or students are not of color, these clubs are still open to all prospective board members, no matter where they are from. Being able to show up to these events even if you don’t participate can go a long way in helping motivate these student leaders. 

“When you lead people, and build relationships or build loyalty to people, they will show up for you,” Seggerson said. 

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About the Contributors
Natalie Gallardo
Natalie Gallardo, Reporter
Julian Perez, Photographer