BSU providing community, growing since 2015


DePaul Prep’s Black Student Union has developed since its initial inception in 2015.

Noreen Mayer, Staff Writer

DePaul College Prep has some wonderful clubs and extracurricular activities, one of them being BSU. Otherwise known as Black Student Union, is seen as a place where people from all different backgrounds, ethnicities, and races can all come together and share different experiences to enrich one another. It is truly one of the best communities formed at DePaul and this week we got an inside look. 

One of the faculty founders of BSU, Mary Hubbard (currently DePaul Prep’s registrar) described the start of the club. It first started back in 2015, when two students came to Ms. Hubbard with concerns about how they were being perceived as African American students by the school. They had concerns that no one would listen to them and that they weren’t being respected. Their teacher Patrick Dwyer had recommended they go to Hubbard for those concerns, and those two students ended up becoming the first President and Vice President of BSU, and Mr. Dwyer became a co-moderator. Former dean April Greer followed his position as co-moderator when she started at DePaul Prep in 2019, until her departure from the school at the completion of last school year.

Math teacher Noah Deck also helps moderate BSU and values it as a black faculty member. “Being one of the few black teachers here and growing up in a predominantly white school, I didn’t really have teachers that looked like me so when I did it felt so welcoming and I was able to achieve so much more because I was able to work with teachers who looked like me and helped me feel seen.”

Rachel Summers, a senior at DePaul Prep and an avid member of BSU since her freshman year, first joined to get closer to other black students and to find a new way to make new friends. Over the years she has experienced so much more than this, as BSU welcomes students who are not black.

“It’s a great opportunity for the school to see into different affinity groups – I feel like putting BSU on a showcase shows everyone that you don’t need to be black or look a certain way; anyone can join and have fun.”

Elaysia Sanders, a senior at DePaul Prep, also joined freshman year as a way to make new friends and meet new people.

“I think the best part is seeing new members every year, it’s just so great to see so many people join from what we started as and it’s going as a big group continuously. I’m really excited that it’ll be flourishing even after I graduate.” 

Summers also mentioned the community that BSU creates for its members.

“With a lot of clubs there’s a lot of pressure on you. [BSU is] kind of a way to escape school and have fun.”

She also mentions how BSU is truly a place for everyone, no matter who you are. Ever since her first year joining, she’s seen a lot of growth within BSU, both in size and participation. When she first joined she didn’t notice avid participation from members like she does now, this coming from more school recognition and the growth in members over the years. 

According to Hubbard, when BSU first started there was an event called “Hot Topics” where students would all put a topic to discuss in a box and when one was chosen the conversation would start from there. Other events included speeches from Jesse White, accompanied by the Tumblers on two separate occasions,  and other speakers such as global entrepreneur David Anderson, the Unity Dinner, and the Ice Cream Social. Last year, BSU members volunteered making small gift bags during Easter for Deborah’s Place, a women’s homeless shelter on the west side of the city.

Hubbard explained that respect is one of the most important core values of BSU.

“You give respect but you want to receive respect as well. No one likes to be stereotyped –  all humans want to be seen for who they really are. We all have our personal struggles and our own personal journeys.”

Today, BSU’s largest annual school event is the Open Mic.

Summers and Sanders expressed their love for Open Mic and their value for the opportunity to show off our student body’s talents. They love that it is a place for not only BSU students.

“I love the fact that not everyone in Open Mic is a part of BSU, so we get to hear stories from either identity or poetry club. – I love how it’s a school wide thing and not just BSU’s open mic,” Sanders said.

Deck also expressed adoration for the students who participate in Open Mic.

“Just hearing these kids sing and perform, as they are so young, is just great to see that they have a passion for it and they’re so driven. At the end of the day that’s what being a teacher is all about.” 

Deck pays great thanks to the student members who make everyone feel welcome and seen, stressing the idea that this club is for anyone who feels inclined to join. He’s noticed a change in the school community from BSU, mentioning how kids seem happier to be here because they have something to look forward to.

“Every time BSU has a meeting these kids are so excited. They want to be there and they are so driven to create these goals.”

While DePaul College Prep has accepted BSU as a club , the school wide reception can always improve. He says that there are things we need to work on, both student and faculty wise, to grow more as a community. 

Continuing its growth and development is important to BSU’s members. Sanders explained that students should be inclined to join BSU to help foster the school community.

“This school in particular, we need to have conversations that we don’t have. We tend to sweep things under the rug a little bit and I feel if more people join BSU we will have more talks that are needed in order to progress as a school.” 

Hubbard added, “BSU is for all of our allies, if you have an interest in wanting to know how other people feel and think. Don’t allow stereotypes to tell you; find out for yourself.” 

For Hubbard, BSU could not succeed without its faculty and staff supporters, naming Coach Mallette, Dean Sneed, Noah Deck,  Ms. Kennedy, Dean Lord and Dean Pagan as key supporters deserving of thanks.