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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer


Students gather on Belle's Backyard for cookout

On the afternoon of April 25, the Saint Mary’s College Office for Student Equity, in collaboration with the SMC First Gen Family and Black Student Association (BSA), hosted a family-style cookout for the tri-campus community.

According to event programming, the cookout was open to all members of the Saint Mary’s, Notre Dame and Holy Cross communities who identity as first-generation college students. Taking place at Belle’s Backyard, the event featured catered homestyle food, a DJ and family games like buckets and spades. 

Organizers “wanted to make it feel as homey as possible,” BSA president Nyah Porter said.

The BSA and First Gen Family wanted the event to feel similar to a family cookout. Porter also noted that because the College is a predominantly white institution, the event’s organizers wanted the cookout to be open to students of color.

“[We] wanted to celebrate not only our first-year students, but also our students of color,” Porter said. “I think bridging that gap is very important.”

Porter said that having BSA sponsor an event could be turn-off to some students, but she wanted to show the Saint Mary's community that BSA events are not just for people of color. According to Porter, the event was held so the community could recognize those identities within the community at large.

“We all should be celebrated,” Porter said.

Leanne Saul, the president of First Gen Family, agreed that bringing these two groups together is important. She said the event was planned to both emphasize community and fun while offering students a “distraction before finals.”

At the cookout, attendees played the “heads, knees, cup” game, which was met with cheers and laughter, even when players lost. Additionally, BSA student leaders taught students how to do a “soul train line,” a popular TikTok trend.

Natalie Gonzalez, the treasurer of First Gen Family, said these events showcase the diversity, not only of the involved groups, but of the community as a whole. Gonzalez said everyone can be a part of these groups.

“I think you could definitely find your people no matter what,” Gonzalez said.

Referring to her tenure as BSA president, Porter said the cookout was just an extension of her work where she aims to facilitate conversation on difficult topics.

“I just want everybody to feel like we can conquer stuff together and also just knowing that it’s okay to sometimes not feel [the] most comfortable being in spaces,” Porter said.