With Western Michigan University being host to over 400 registered student organizations, for black students — many of whom are living in a predominately white space for the first time — finding a community can be a daunting task.
To celebrate Black History Month, each week in February, Western Herald will spotlight a black RSO feature series called ‘Focus Feature’ to inform the student body of the different black student groups on WMU’s campus.
Once every two weeks, approximately 47 women gather in room 212 of WMU’s Bernhard Center.
They belong to an organization called Project Big Sister (PBS). This organization was established six years ago, however, it has only been on Western Michigan’s campus for three.
PBS is a mentoring organization for women. Members labeled as upperclassman mentor the freshman and first-year sophomores of the group. During meetings, they talk about college, life and relationships.
“We’re basically like an outlet for you to get stuff off of your mind,” said Ayanna King, WMU senior and PBS president.
Although the organization is mostly for support, they also do a lot of community service. PBS has two community service events a month and each member can vote on what they want to do.
In the past they have passed out lunch bags to the homeless and volunteered at nursing homes and schools. Their most recent event was the annual date night auction. All the money earned from the event was given to charity.
This year PBS is donating care packages to the U.S. military. In the past, they have donated toys to mothers in need and given hygiene products to people in Flint.
“It’s our biggest event, and we’re very prideful of the effort we put into it,” King said.
She explained that the focus of the organization is to create a sisterly bond and be there for one another. Part of this is represented by the all-black executive board. King mentioned that having an all African American e-board team is not necessarily important but they recognize the struggles African American women face being on a predominantly white campus.
PBS is an organization that accepts women of all races. As president, King recognizes that everyone has their own struggles and ways of getting through them. She hopes to make sure that every one of the members has someone to talk to.
“I always tell people that it does not matter how many events we do,” King said. “It doesn’t matter how much community service we do, our platform is being there for people who need somebody to be there for them.”