Black Alumni Weekend (Ohio University)

Weeks of anticipation have finally brought upon this momentous weekend. One that’s among the most celebrated on campus and has made an amassed impact since its inception nearly 30 years ago. Black Alumni Reunion (BAR) weekend generates breathes of new energy and reveals an elk of black culture that’s often under represented.

The weekend-long event has heightened the importance of this enriched institution. Over 500 alumni attend every three years to converse nostalgically with their contemporaries and bask in these illustrious events. Allowing the opportunity for both former and current products of this university to connect with one another, while enjoying the array of activities that’ve been set to honor this community.

This weekend has prompted alumni to reflect on their experiences here at Ohio University (OU) with each reminiscent step they take onto our engraved bricks. Former alumna Terry Mann spoke of these reflections and the feelings they provoke.

Mann said, “It’s always good to be back on campus. Sharing experiences and talking with old friends. It feels good.” Beyond the fun she anticipates throughout the weekend. Ultimately, she wants to instill the importance of giving back and encourage students to inherit this mindset In time, doing the same for the generations ahead once they become alums of this university. “By us being here we hope [they] have the same feelings we have about the university, that [they’ll] come back and touch someone else.”

As the weekend progresses, it seems Mann’s sentiments have manifested. The impact this weekend has had onto current OU students is undeniable. Student Morgan Matthews explains the significance its had onto her as an aspiring business professional.

“I think black alumni weekend is a great idea because we are able to meet the bobcats that came before us and the ones who paved the way for what we’re doing today.”

Matthews continues, describing the connection she obtained with some of the individuals she encountered.

“It was actually really cool seeing a lot of people that look like me on campus who are willing to talk about their experiences and to give advice to us.” Advice Morgan feels will resonate and encourage her to keep pushing towards her goals.

It’s clear, BAR weekend is needed on campus. Especially, once you consider that of the 20,000 students that attend this university, only six percent are black. Alumnus Kyle Bowser refers to our miniscule populous as the reason why BAR is vital to help build this sense of community.

Bowser said, “The number of black students on this campus has never exceeded ten percent of the total population … It’s always important for us to have a sense of community and when we return to the campus as alums I think, if nothing else, it’s a physical sign to the students that there is in fact a community here.”

This weekend encompasses the spirit of our campus and is an integral part in the growth of the black community. One that has grown in value over time, especially with the recent controversies that have surrounded race on our campus.

It’s our job as students, Bowser said, to build upon our current community and pass these spirits on as alums of OU. In turn, furthering the progressions we intend on reaching as an institution.

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