President of the Black Diplomacy Student Organization, Akaysha Palmer.
Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Thurgood Marshall, and Barack Obama are just some of the amazing and influential individuals whose legacies are celebrated and remembered through Black History Month. This integral month of remembrance and observance of the history, people and events of the African diaspora is celebrated in many ways. Among those efforts, honoring this history through community, mentorship, and friendship, is the Seton Hall Black Diplomacy Student Organization.
An outgrowth of the School’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Justice Coalition, the Black Diplomacy Student Organization is a campus student organization created by students and alumni to support and inspire students. The organization is unique among student clubs by including not only undergraduate and graduate students, but also Seton Hall University Alumni. "Its creation is accredited to a group of Black undergraduate, graduate students and alumni, some of whom include Troy Dutch, Priscilla Plat, Amatullah Shaw, Tamia Wallace, Jamia Hood, Akaysha Palmer, Robyn Bivins, Kayla Toomer, and Michael Homes. Those currently serving on the executive board include Akaysha Palmer, Tamia Wallace, Danyeris Lopez, Elyssa Curet, Amatullah Shaw, and Priscilla Plat. According to President, Akaysha Palmer, an integral takeaway "is the networking opportunities and the fact that it is a safe space." Palmer explains that highlighting the aspects of community is a large focus of the club.
With the inclusion of alumni and graduate students in the club, members have increased opportunities for mentorship. She explains that participating in the club, "getting to know people and realizing that they had similar struggles as you allows you to push through your problems and become successful in the program." The effect of community and support is incredibly important in this group and is shown through their planned events. Some of those events include program mentorship, first year student outreach and student mixers. There is also a diverse group of alumni who share opportunities with students like internships, community involvement, and possible job placement post-graduation.
In the coming weeks, the Black Diplomacy Student Organization plans to release a newsletter featuring upcoming events, student spotlights, internship and work opportunities, and student mental health check-ins. The club is hoping to make this newsletter an ongoing publication that can expand as the group does. They are exploring providing members with a textbook stipend to ease some of their fellow students’ financial barriers to entry. Plans were discussed in detail during their first general body meeting this semester on February 15, including future planning and a commemoration to Black History Month through Black Trivia Night. President Palmer and the Executive Board of the Club hope that "this meeting builds the foundation for a great community within the general body."