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Meet NDSU’s Black Student Association

1) Hello! My name is Breanna Jentzen, I go by Bree! I am enrolled in the dual degree program at NDSU, getting my Social Work and HDFS degree. Social Work is my passion and I’m excited to get in the field to help the youth! I am the activities coordinator for BSA and the president of the Student Social Work Organization!

2) Hello! My name is Natasha Thompson and I’m from Minneapolis, MN. I’m majoring in Criminal Justice minors in Emergency Management and Women & Gender Studies with hopes of going into the social service side of the criminal justice system. I’m the treasurer for BSA!

3) Hello! My name is Mary Mbuthia and I’m majoring in Veterinary Technology and minoring in Animal Science. Once I get my Bachelor’s degree from NDSU, I will start working towards getting my Veterinarian degree! I’m heavily involved on campus and I’m honored to be the Vice President of BSA!

4) Hello! My name is Malayah Griffin. I am currently a sophomore at NDSU, and I am majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. I like helping others and connecting with people in the community. I am the President of the Black Student Association (BSA) at NDSU.

(Not Pictured) Hello! My name is Christie Collins. My major is biology and I’m aiming toward a career in either medicine or marine biology. I’m an international student from Canada and I’m also a sprinter and jumper on the NDSU track and field team! I’m the public relations/social media coordinator for BSA!

The Tri-College community is fortunate to have these stellar ladies call the Fargo area their home away from home.

We wish them best of luck with their promising college journey!

Go Bison!

– Cyusa

A Q&A With Malayah Griffin

Where do you call home?

Home for me is Minneapolis, MN—North Minneapolis to be exact. I was born and raised there.

Being here in Fargo I have grown so much as a person in general. My high school self, compared to me now, is quite different. If that girl from back then could see me now, she would not know what to do. One of the things that I have learned is to take more risks and try new things. I learned to put myself out there more, and it has benefited me in many ways.

What is the story behind your passion for working for the Black Student Association (BSA)?

The passion for working for BSA comes from this club helping me out when I first arrived here. This club welcomed me with open arms, and it was nice to see people that looked like me come together, have a fun time, and have conversations that needed to be had. I wanted to make sure this club could continue to make students of color feel like they have a space to feel welcomed and heard.

Share about your experience on campus and in the community.

On campus, when I first arrived, it was hard because I did not know exactly what I would be doing here. My experience now has been amazing! I have met so many wonderful people who have made my experience in Fargo one hundred times better. Without the community that I have developed here, I would not be where I am today.

My journey to getting involved on campus accelerated at an exponential rate. My Resident Assistant (RA) at the time encouraged me to join hall government and I decided to run for president of my college dorm and won. “Go big or go home.” That helped open the door for me to get involved in RHA and then I later applied to be a mid-year RA. Then the former president of BSA and I talked, and she was looking for folks to step up and take over BSA because she was graduating soon. Those were some big shoes to fill. After talking to others, I decided why not and ran for BSA president. I got elected and that opened a whole other door for more opportunities to work with more awesome people in the Fargo-Moorhead area. I show a lot of support to the people around me. I help promote events. I am always down to volunteer and help around the community.

What are some misconceptions about BSA students by the community?

I don’t really know about any misconceptions about BSA. I hear some people say they don’t see the need to have one. I feel like with that, they just don’t know what we do at BSA. Also, people may just think the club is only for students of color. However, anyone is welcome to attend the meetings. We have amazing conversations and have fun activities every meeting and some people walk out of there more informed about certain topics.

Can you share some of the work you do in the community? How can others get involved?

I help promote events going on in the Fargo-Moorhead area. I also hosted a couple events like Fargo Got Talent and Afrique. I also help behind the scenes with events around the area as well. I am also a mentor at Liberty Middle School and am trying to expand mentoring to other schools. People can get involved by just contacting me and asking if there are any ways to get involved. I always have volunteering opportunities for anyone who wants it and I always encourage members to get involved in our community.

As an active community member, what is the next problem you are trying to solve?

My next idea I want to do is have a big throwback block party with the tri-colleges in the area. Old school music, clothes, and the immaculate vibes from everyone around.

What is your vision for 2030 for the Fargo-Moorhead community?

I see a big community coming together for more events. I also see it being more diverse as well and BSA running stronger than ever.

Written by Alexandre Cyusa

Alexandre Cyusa came to the FM area in the fall of 2010 to attend Concordia College. Originally from Kigali, Rwanda, Cyusa has lived in Switzerland, Ethiopia, Guinea and France. His traveling experiences have helped him in making this world a smaller and simpler place to live in. He currently works for Folkways and is interested in community development and nurturing global citizenship.

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