B/AACC: Annual Report 2021-22
This year saw the return of former Assistant Director Duan Ruff, who currently serves as the center’s Director. The office conducted 14 programs, including the month-long Black History Month, community-wide Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, and participated in the Fort Collins community Juneteenth Celebration. These activities reached more than 2,000 people.
The center also focuses on fundraising to ensure it can provide resources for its ever-growing population and need for services. This year, more than $10,000 was raised through development of two videos: one called “Rites of Passage,” and a second for the homecoming pageant.
In addition to private fundraising, the office successfully revived the landmark Black Issues Forum program, which had been sidelined from being in person due to COVID-19. Thirty-three high school seniors visited campus for one week and participated in a tour of the Animal Science Department and the opportunity to make soda at the University’s fermentation Lab.
Additional issues addressed below in the “forecast for the future,” include being understaffed, which affected the center’s ability to offer some of its signature programs, including the Leadership Development Institute (LDI) and the Black Women’s Summit.
With new leadership came culture change in the center as well, with students providing formal feedback that the office felt more welcoming and inviting than in years past.
This fell directly in line with the “home away from home” atmosphere the center espouses. Comments included:
“Duan has done a great job of creating a great office environment where student feel comfortable and welcome with less [cliques] than in previous years.”
“I formed the best relationships with some of the mentors and was able to stay in touch with many of the B/AACC office events through them.”
“Professional staff are very kind and welcoming and made me feel at home.”
Forecast for the Future
The Black/African American Cultural Center plans to focus on its home away from home vibe by continuing and expanding fundraising to ensure students, faculty, staff and the campus community can thrive at Colorado State.
To ensure success, hiring of an Assistant Director will help the office tremendously. Additional hands, as well as increased funding will help with the focus of reinstituting the popularity of Black Issues Forum, which had enjoyed pre-pandemic attendance of more than 70 participants each session.
Creating an endowment to support the department’s budget is top of mind for this Center. Funds needed for staffing and to properly conduct successful programs are at the heart of its foci as center leadership believes these programs are imperative to student success and the rich history of the Black experience at Colorado State University.
Specific funding initiatives include:
- Developing an Annual Homecoming Alumni Fundraising and reconnecting dinner partnered with student organizations on campus.
- Creation of a professional shadowing and mentoring program. The Gill Franklin LEAP Program would aim to help Black students at CSU thrive professionally. The program will be built from scratch using the foundation provided by the Donald Wilson professional mentoring program offered pre-pandemic.
- Adding to its offerings a program called “Creating the Sankofa: LLCs and Degrees program for graduating senior,” to assist with the transition from undergrad to building productive lives after University. The program would encourage building thriving careers and lives by providing graduating seniors with a next step — LLC/non-profit or plan for post-graduation. Partnerships for this endeavor will include the College of Business, Canvas Credit Union, Denver’s Green Spaces organization and the CSU Career Center.
2021-22 B/AACC Programs
In partnership with the Office of Student Leadership Involvement and Community Engagement (SLiCE), the goal of this program is to take students to the southern United States to visit civil rights historical sites. Two students from the trip used that knowledge to create the sessions for the GPS program (described below).
The goal: to highlight the accomplishments of African Americans throughout history and Unite the different cultures underneath the ‘Black’ identity. (Included several partnerships: ACT film festival, Office for Inclusive Excellence, Ram Events, Housing and Dining)
This program partners with the University’s Admissions, Ethnic Studies, Animal Science, Fermentation lab, Registrar Morgan library and Conference Services. The goal is to expose rising seniors to college while facilitating discussion and creating presentations on Black issues in society.
The goal of this program is to provide an opportunity to relax and breathe as students prepare to embark on finals. Attendance averages 15 students per event for the 5 days of finals week.
Partnered with Office for Inclusive Excellence, The City of Fort Collins, Ram Events and several other community partners, the goal of this event is to connect with the community on the importance and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s work in civil rights and DEIJ work.
A roster of more than 40 students are registered for this program, with 15-20 students attending each monthly meeting.
An annual event hosted in partnership with the Lory student Center, who handles the event space, technical production and production costs of this popular event. A video created from this year’s pageant garnered funding for the office's future programmatic efforts.
A two-hour open house event in the B/AACC office allowing students the opportunity to relax, create community and take a break from studies. Approximately 150 students attended at some point during the two-hour event.
Working with the City of Fort Collins; Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Alliance; Boys and Girls Club; Poudre School District and several businesses throughout the city, the B/AACC office works with the Juneteenth committee to ensure that there is student involvement with this important event. The B/AACC Office is one of many CSU representative groups that are part of this citywide effort.
A partnership with Ram Welcome, Colorado State’s week-long program to welcome students to their new University-based lives. The B/AACC Office provided welcome bags and introduced the center with the goal of cultivating a thriving and inclusive community.
A signature B/AACC Office event, we Partner with Colorado State’s alumni and development offices to celebrate student academic and involvement achievements, award scholarships and welcome alumni back to campus.
In partnership with Ram Events, five contestants and about 15 students attended.
As part of Ram Welcome, the final weekday of incoming students’ and parents’ welcome to the University and University life, an all-out celebration takes place throughout the 320,000 square foot Lory Student Center to familiarize students with available offices and services, and to kick-off a weekend of rest to prepare for Monday classes. In partnership with Campus Activities, B/AACC opened its facilities and welcomed students, promoting that feeling of being home.
A weekly conversation session averaging about 21 students in attendance, “Real Talk” allows them to tackle and discuss current issues together.
This program partners with Colorado State’s advising, counseling departments, housing and dining and the YMCA of the Rockies. During the retreat, 33 first year students and 22 staff members were invited to commune away from the campus environment.
More than 300 students attended the annual BBQ to eat, dance and mingle at this event, which intends to encourage networking and socializing among faculty, staff, community and students.