Black Student Union Changes Name to Be More Inclusive and Supportive of Otterbein’s Black Community 

Posted Feb 02, 2023

By Kailey Mishler ’24 

Otterbein’s longest-running Black student organization has a new identity. Recently, the African American Student Union became the Black Student Union. BSU is the largest organization at Otterbein that represents and unites the Black community. 

We recently talked to Nimco Awil, president of BSU. Awil is a junior triple major in political science, sociology, and criminology and justice studies. She gave us insight into the role of BSU on Otterbein’s campus, as well as information on the group’s recent name change.  

What is the purpose and importance of the BSU on Otterbein’s campus? 

BSU holds a strong weight on our campus. The BSU family continues to create change on campus and build connections with our community to better our current students. BSU has a rich history that not many people know of. Our purpose is to continue to promote unity among Black students and help build those connections that will last a lifetime.  

How would you describe the BSU to incoming students? Or students looking to join? 

I would describe the Black Student Union as a family away from family. We are your family on campus, your friends, and your resources to ensure you have a great college experience. We meet every week and host fun meetings as a way to destress from classes. We host the Trilogy Weekend at the end of the school year. Trilogy Weekend is a three-day weekend hosted by the Black Student Union, Sisters United, and Men of Vision. It consists of the Senior Ceremony, Field Day, and the annual cookout at the House of Black Culture.  

What do you want the Otterbein Community to know about BSU? 

I want the Otterbein Community to know that our current and former student leaders have worked extremely hard for BSU to be in the position that we are in today. We encourage you to support the Black Student Union and our members and learn about our history and how significant our presence is on our campus.  

Why is it so important to celebrate diversity and inclusivity on a college campus?  

It is very important to celebrate diversity and inclusion on every campus because it celebrates those who fought in our history for us to be in this position. Without Diversity & Inclusion, our campus and community would be missing out on such wonderful talent and opportunities.  

The BSU recently changed its name from AASU to BSU. Can you explain the reasoning behind this change? 

We changed our name from The African American Student Union to the Black Student Union because we want to be more inclusive. We have many Black students who don’t identify as “African American.” We want all of our members to feel represented on our campus, and that’s why we changed it to the Black Student Union.  

What does your job as the BSU president consist of? 

My job as the Black Student Union President consists of a lot. However, my main focus is to ensure that Black students here at Otterbein University feel represented and that they have a community that knows what they are going through as Black students at a predominantly White institution. People we can rely on and go to for resources, advice, and opportunities. I want to leave Otterbein University knowing I did the best I could for my people on this campus.