Black Student Union grows to over 100 with new leaders and new energy


African American and other students of color have solidified a network and a place to belong in the growing Black Student Union (BSU). Today, there are over 120 members and growing. Lynne Copeland and Will Copeland, brother and sister staff members at Pioneer are the advisors for the student group. Ms Copeland is the Scheduling office professional and Will is a Community Liaison for the building. “We give students of color a place of support and unity,” says current BSU member Layla Dobbins, Junior.

In the 2017-18 school year, BSU did a lot of community service and hopes to do more. “From adopting families (during the holidays) to coat drives, to creating mentoring programs in the surrounding community,” says Mr. Copeland.

BSU has two student leaders, Shalae Page and Drew Lowder, both seniors.

According to Page, BSU is a safe place for African American students to be able to express their feelings and be able to contribute their ideas about many issues.  “BSU allows black students to come to a place where they might feel more comfortable and welcome,” Page said.

BSU member Layla Dobbins, a junior, says that BSU gets a lot of support but “a lot of people question BSU’s purpose because they don’t actually know or understand what BSU does for African American students.”

The group’s advisors, Ms. and Mr. Copeland are aware that students and staff have criticized BSU’s strict focus on the concerns of black students. “I think it’s difficult for people to adjust to change in general,” he said, referring to the school’s renewed commitment to a black student group. “There’s also the issue of people not being properly educated in cultural awareness. I believe as BSU continues to grow and thrive, we’ll be able to have more conversations about cultural awareness and micro-aggressions and how not understanding both can cause tension and negative interactions.”

BSU will have over 100 members after the applications are turned in and processed. “We give students of color a place of support and unity,” says current BSU member Layla Dobbins, Junior.