Diversity Week kicked off at Plattsburgh State with the third annual Coming to America Banquet hosted by PSUC’s black student union Black Onyx.

In the Angell College Center Warren Ballrooms, the night began with Black Onyx President Latay Moultrie’s announcement of award recipients, selected Black Onyx supporters. The awards included the Black Hustle Award, the Black Excellence Award and the People’s Choice Award.

A main component of the Coming to America Banquet is to announce the new winners of the Mr. and Mrs. Black Student Union, determined by a panel of judges.

“Being crowned Mr. or Mrs. BSU is symbolic of the face of Black Onyx,” Moultrie said. “The elects will get a guaranteed position on the board and will eventually move up to a more permanent position in Black Onyx.”

The contest for Mr. and Mrs. BSU continued throughout the evening as Moultrie asked a series of questions for each of four candidates to answer before the audience. The questions were intended to tell the audience and the judges about the candidates’ characters.

“How would you improve the black community?” Moultrie asked.

One candidate told the crowd that knowledge is power and an effective way to improve the black community is to educate oneself and others.
Another candidate said the answer is creating a non-profit organization to aid less fortunate children.

“What would you do if you had won the lottery?” Moultrie asked next.

One candidate said she would pay off both hers and her mother’s student loans.

Moultrie then called for an intermission for the guests to eat dinner.

During the intermission, Moultrie explained the purpose of the Coming to America banquet.

“This event is not meant to focus on celebrating just the African-American culture, but every culture that PSUC has to offer,” Moultrie said. “I’m excited to see so many people here.”
The banquet had many guests including PSUC President John Ettling who has attended every banquet since the event’s inception three years ago.

“This event is a Diversity Week high point,” Ettling said. “This is just as important as commencement.”

International Science and English major Amanogho Ugbodaga attended the banquet and said he was glad he chose to go.

“I was wondering why it was called Coming to America, and now I know,” Ugbodaga said. “I really liked the sharing of ideas and the answers from the candidates.”
Later in the night Moultrie asked the final question.

“What is one movement or speech that impacted your life the most?”

In response, winner of Mr. BSU Gene Copeland brought up recent campus events, especially the PSUC Blackout Protest from two weeks ago. Copeland said he admires the students for standing up for what they believe in.
Mai’eja Williams was crowned Mrs. BSU by judges, bringing the night to a close.

With the crowning of a new set of Mr. and Mrs. BSU Black Onyx has fresh faces and new ideas to move forward with.

Email Mataeo Smith at news@cardinalpointsonline.com

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