Students create "For the Culture Thursdays" to foster community among black students
For The Culture Thursdays, or FTC Thursdays, is a new biweekly event on campus meant to bring black students together. After five student-athletes attended the Black Student Athlete Summit held in Austin, Texas, in January, they wanted to bring what they learned back to University of Richmond. The first event was held on Feb. 23.
At the summit, students from University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley), shared that their campus has an event called “Black Wednesdays” where black students can all gather in a forum-like space at a time when no one has classes, Marshea Robinson, WC ’19, explained. Robinson is a member of UR Track & Field and attended the summit.
Similar to UC Berkeley’s program, one of the main purposes of UR’s FTC Thursdays is to bridge some of the gaps between black student-athletes and other black students.
“Both groups of black students on campus do not spend a lot of time together, especially with the busy schedules of student athletes,” Jacob Roberson, RC ‘19 and a member of the UR football team, said. “Since athletes spend so much of their time involved with their sport, they still tend to migrate towards those same people even when they are not doing something sport-related.”
Because only 6 percent of the student population at UR identifies as black, FTC Thursdays’ leaders were easily able to create a group chat with most of the black students on campus, as well as some non-black students, in an effort to bring members of the black campus community together and spread the word about this new event.
At the first meeting on Feb. 23, many students came to the first floor of the Tyler Haynes Commons to hang out and play video games. FTC Thursdays should be a relaxed time when students can come and hang out for any amount of time, Roberson said.
Roberson hopes that the future of FTC Thursdays will include more food, various locations and a time that would benefit the majority of people.
“There is no better way to debrief from the stresses of the week than [be] around my peeps on a Thursday night,” Chantel Baker, WC ‘19 and a member of the Black Student Alliance, said.
“For me, these nights became so important because it’s a time where we can all just be together,” Ayele d’Almeida, WC ‘20 and a member of the FTC planning committee, said. “If UR wants to see a more inclusive community, then hopefully they’ll realize the importance of FTC. For an entire group of people to be able to come together in this way each week, I think that speaks to the powerful presence that we have on this campus."
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