Jordan Jackson '17 on Being President of the Black Student Organization
What's your major at Simmons?
I'm majoring in communications on the public relations track and minoring in Africana studies and arts administration.
What drew you to your program?
From an early young age I realized the power of images and narratives that are circulated in the media. As I got older I became more interested in exploring how I can impact these narratives — and studying communications seemed like a good start. I chose the public relations route because it seems to offer the most variety. Through internships and work experience I’ve gained an interest in working with small businesses/non-profits to craft their messages and reach new audiences. My arts administration and Africana studies minors help me contextualize where my skills can be of value and help me to integrate my major with my love of art and history.
The Black Student Organization (BSO) just celebrated its 50th anniversary. We're an organization born out of student activism and efforts to make Simmons a more inclusive environment for Black students. Throughout the years, we’ve been a major support for other students of color on this campus. I think that sense of unity can be felt even today, especially considering the collaborative efforts of the second round of Ten Demands presented to the school in 2015.
In addition to being a continual force for change, we’ve also inherited a legacy of traditional events such as our Kwanzaa Dinner and A Sparkling Affair. When we’re not planning events, we’re talking with each other about the issues of the day that impact us and our communities. These conversations are important to our growth as students and as citizens of the world.
What's it like being president of the BSO?
Ever since I started at Simmons, the BSO has been the place that feels like home on campus and I’m so honored to play a role in helping create that space for my peers. We’re always busy — there are always important conversations to be had and exciting events to plan!
What are the goals of the BSO?
We have a lot of traditional events that we always hope to execute successfully, but perhaps more importantly we aim to create a space where Black students feel seen, heard and valued. A space where Black excellence, cultures and humanity are celebrated. We also have the responsibility of ensuring that these spaces exist throughout Simmons as a whole.
What's your favorite event you've participated in with the BSO?
I love our annual Kwanzaa celebrations. Kwanzaa is a holiday that I didn’t know much about before joining the BSO, but now I intend to observe it every year once I graduate. Our Kwanzaa dinner is a great time to come together as a community and re-focus on a few core values that can help continue to make our community stronger. There are always great stories and insights that are shared during this time and our celebrations always include amazing food and performances.
Why are multicultural groups on campus so important?
Because we create spaces where folks can really thrive and live out parts of their identity. We're also important because we have been and continue to be a force for change on campuses here at Simmons and around the country.
If an anonymous donor gave Simmons funds for Diversity and Inclusion initiatives, how would you use that money?
I would love to see at least a good portion of that amount allocated to any research, development or hiring needed to make changes in the curriculum. Specifically, I would love to see more offerings and faculty in current departments such as Africana studies and East Asian studies — and I would also love to see the development of Latinx studies, South Asian studies and more. These departments offer nuance and intersectionality that is necessary to all areas of studies.