Baby Terps Make their Presence Felt on Campus Through Leadership Roles

On Monday evening, candidates for the new school year's Black Student Union Freshman Council prepared to share their qualifications and plans for the year.

A total of 13 students ran for seats for the 2017-2018 BSU Freshman Council at the Nyumburu Cultural Center’s Multipurpose Room. The council is composed of seven positions: president, vice president, treasurer, secretary, communications chair, marketing chair, and historian.

Each position plays an important role to ensure BSU’s freshmen feel welcomed and involved in the organization and on campus.

A common thread amongst the candidates were their accomplishments. All of them had served in demanding leadership roles at their respective high schools.

Tamya Anderson, freshman criminology and criminal justice major, and Landen Buckson, freshman business major, were both presidents of their individual onyx clubs. Alyssa Miller, freshman computer science major, was a historian for her student government association and a public affairs officer for her school’s junior ROTC unit.

 Tamya Anderson (left), freshman criminology and criminal justice major, delivers her 2 minute speech at the 2017-2018 Black Student Union Freshman Council elections held on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Anderson defined a leader as someone who is compassionate, open-minded, and approachable. Photo by Amina Lampkin.

Tamya Anderson (left), freshman criminology and criminal justice major, delivers her 2 minute speech at the 2017-2018 Black Student Union Freshman Council elections held on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Anderson defined a leader as someone who is compassionate, open-minded, and approachable. Photo by Amina Lampkin.

Hailing from northeastern Pennsylvania, Natalia Salmon, a freshman civil engineering major, ran for the position of treasurer. Salmon was elected senior class president in high school.

During her time as president, she fundraised and managed more than $12,000 for events such as prom, senior superlatives and her class picnic. Aside from raising money for her student government, Salmon also raised $2,000 for her Key Club and more than $10,000 in sponsorships for pageants.

Her passion for helping others is the main reason why she strives to be in positions of leadership.

“I always liked doing things for the rest of my peers, so I wanted to do something again, in college as well,” Salmon said.

One candidate with a relevant platform and accomplished resume was Freshman government and politics major, Nadia Owusu.

 Landen Buckson (left), Joelle Everett (middle), and Nadia Owusu (right) answer a question from an audience member at the 2017-2018 Black Student Union Freshman Council elections on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. This person asked what is one goal the candidates would like to achieve if elected vice president of the council. Photo by Amina Lampkin.

Landen Buckson (left), Joelle Everett (middle), and Nadia Owusu (right) answer a question from an audience member at the 2017-2018 Black Student Union Freshman Council elections on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. This person asked what is one goal the candidates would like to achieve if elected vice president of the council. Photo by Amina Lampkin.

She served as her senior class president, interned with the Maryland General Assembly, and got her social justice society up and running. But aside from her qualifications, Owusu’s experience in Charlottesville served as a powerful reminder for why she was interested in being vice president.

Owusu traveled to Charlottesville in August with the socialist group, Workers World. When talking about her experience there, she said was excited to fight the good fight, however not without some trepidation.

“I was also so nervous to see white supremacy and pure hatred right in my face,” Owusu said.

By the end of the day, she had been pepper sprayed and tear gassed. Owusu admitted to feeling emotionally drained, but after some reflection, she realized the importance of unity in the Black community.

Owusu’s time in Charlottesville manifested a desire to create a more unified and more educated Black community at Maryland.

Joelle Everett, freshman information science major, focused her campaign on new experiences and risk taking. In her speech, Everett asked her classmates to try new things and meet new people, in hopes that they will be proud to be a Black student at the university.

She said one way to accomplish that is to allow the people to be part of the decision making which occurs on the council.

“The best possible new ideas and experiences don’t just come from the people on Freshman council,” Everett said, “so if elected, I want to make it a point to make everyone included in this process. We’re one. It’s not just about us.”

It was clear that each candidate was passionate about leading BSU’s class of 2021 in the right direction. Everyone who came out to vote definitely had some tough options to weigh.

Winners were announced on the BSU Twitter page Wednesday:

  • Tamya Anderson, Freshman Council President
  • Joelle Everett, Freshman Council Vice President
  • Makayla Brown, Freshman Council Tresurer
  • Chisom Ojukwu, Freshman Council Secretary
  • Sam Quander-Mosley, Freshman Council Marketing Chair
  • Camryn Edwards, Freshman Council Communications Chair
  • Alyssa Miller, Freshman Council Historian
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