February marks the start of Black History Month, and one of Trevecca’s newest student organizations is planning a series of events designed to honor, commemorate and educate.
The Walden Club, a student organization for African American students led by Tynaisia Rush, president, and Javionne Smith, vice president, say this year’s events build upon one another, leading up to a larger scale event: a tour of significant Civil Right and African American history sites around the city.
“We have three different things going on next month,” Rush said. “We want to have something that leads up to a bigger event as well. We’re starting this Friday with a movie night.”
The planned events include a screening of The Hate U Give followed by a panel discussion on Feb. 1; a spoken word event on Feb. 8; and the tour of Nashville on Feb. 22.
Rush and Smith, both sophomores, hope students from all backgrounds will participate in the events. While students established the Walden Club in 2017, Rush and Smith say in many ways this is the first big opportunity to get the word out about the club and its mission.
“We started [Walden] last year but were really just trying to get everything together,” Rush said. “Besides just getting [the word about] Walden out so that [students] know it is here for them, I think it’s really important to show the importance of the history and why it means so much.”
Smith hopes that the month’s events lead to deeper understanding and conversation among students from all backgrounds.
“I think with the spoken word event, especially with the African American students we hope will participate, we really get to hear about their experiences as African American people. That’s something I really hope people pay attention to and learn from,” she said. “And just having that open discussion about police brutality that’s in The Hate U Give—I think that’s a big topic among the African American community right now, so having that discussion is important.”
In addition to the planned events, the club is also sponsoring a series of special burgers in the Hub each week during February. The burgers will highlight significant figures in African American history.
Last year, the club started small, commemorating special achievements and important figures in African American history with posters placed around campus. Rush and Smith are excited to build on that foundation with this year’s planned events.
“Last year, we just put up posters,” Rush said. “This year, we’re doing events. My dream for this is that it would become an annual event that would continue even after we graduate.”
Smith sees the club members’ work as building a foundation for the future.
“I think doing something little every single year and growing upon that, we get other peoples’ input and we get more ideas, so hopefully we can just grow from here,” she said. “I only see Trevecca becoming more diverse from here, so there’s motivation to do more.”
The club is still working to firm locations and time for next month’s events. Look for more information on posters around campus and follow the club members on Instagram at @WaldenTNU. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.