Black Students Alliance

BSA is back in business

By Jeda Coward ’24, Makenna Noel ’24, and Tiffany Filawo ’23 September 16, 2021

Rensselaer’s Black Students Alliance is excited to kick off a year of fun activities for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak. Our club prides itself in being a cultural outlet for RPI’s Black community and its allies. We strive to showcase the Black experience and offer an immersive experience for those looking to learn and be a part of that experience. The best ways we were able to do this were through our signature in-person events such as the Night of Free Expression, Fashion Show, Ebony Ball, and collaborative events like Step and Stroll, which we put on with the Alphas and the National Society of Black Engineers. After transitioning to an entirely virtual setting, it became quite a challenge to interact with and fully engage our community as effectively as we used to, which forced us to find creative alternatives.

Our most successful alternative was B.O.S.S. Events—our Black Owned Success Series. For B.O.S.S. Events, BSA invites founders and CEOs of successful Black-owned businesses as well as Black individuals with impressive careers trailblazing their respective industries to speak before our general body members and serve as a source of inspiration. This was especially needed during the mentally straining quarantine coupled with the unforgettable Black Lives Matter Movement events during the summer of 2020. The B.O.S.S. events were very well received as we were able to bring ​​Shontay Lundy, CEO and founder of Black Girl Sunscreen, Abena Boamah-Acheampong, CEO and founder of Hanahana Beauty, and Girard Hardy, Brand Director and Marketer for Walker & Company Brands as guest speakers. Now that we are back to running our club in-person, our Executive Board is ready to reinvigorate the club’s spirit by bringing back our previous in-person events, hosting new in-person events, and transitioning former successful virtual events, to the in-person setting.

This year, BSA started with an introduction at the Welcome Back BBQ, where first-year students had the opportunity to learn about the different identity-based clubs, play games, and socialize with other RPI students. Through this event, a lot of BSA members were finally able to meet, which helped them connect better and converse more easily. This reaffirmed the importance of our club to provide opportunities that can facilitate conversations among our members and supporters.

On that note, BSA will kick off our first General Body Meeting on September 22 in The Shellnutt Gallery at 6 pm. At this meeting, the Executive Board will be introduced and there will be different ice-breaker activities to get to know and bond with other Black members of the RPI community. We welcome back all existing members of BSA and people in the RPI community who are interested in coming to learn about BSA and our plans for the year. We also want to provide opportunities for people to get involved in the progression of our club.

BSA is currently looking for potential first-year and sophomore representatives. The role of representatives will be to learn more about the club, participate in Executive Board meetings to give their perspective on upcoming activities, and to get other members of their cohort involved with BSA. For prospective representatives, email any of your questions or concerns to BSA President Tiffany Filawo ’23 at

For future updates and events, follow the Black Students’ Alliance’s Instagram at @rpibsa. Thank you for all your support, and we are looking forward to growing our BSA family.