Sunday, May 19, 2024

Black Onyx gains awards

Plattsburgh State Black Student Union Black Onyx might have just changed its name a few weeks ago, but the group already has received recognition with its new name written across the awards.

The group decided to change its name back to Black Onyx, the name the group was founded with, after the group’s banquet, where an original founder of Black Onyx attended and explained the principles and reasons why that was the initial name of the group. Black Onyx President Lateef Wearrien said he and other members knew it was time for a change.

“The founder, Eunice Holy, explained what exactly was going on in Plattsburgh in the ’60s and why they came up with the name, and our board members discussed and decided we had to go back to that name,” Wearrien said. “Black Onyx is a precious and rare stone that means resilience, intuition, strength, change, etc. The name really brings us back to the natural roots of the organization.”

Wearrien also said how, with the group’s 50-year anniversary coming up, the name change will create a bridge to the past and also gives the group a connection to alumni who remember the group with that name.

At the Student Recognition Ceremony for Leadership and Service, which took place in the Angell College Center Warren Ballrooms April 19, Black Onyx was presented three major awards: the outstanding club of the year from the Student Association, Vice President of Student Affairs’ College Service Award and the President’s Cup.

SA Vice President of Clubs and Organizations Taeko Kelly said it was clear to her and the rest of the SA the great work that Black Onyx, under both its new and old names, has been consistently doing for PSUC’s campus and believes their successful ceremony was well-deserved.

“We thought that, not only this year, but in general, Black Onyx, formerly AKEBA, has been really consistently impressive with their presence on campus. They have so many events all the time, and they attract so many different people on campus,” Kelly said. “They’re very outreaching and so inclusive, too, and the subject matter of the meetings and events they hold are not always the easiest.”

Kelly also said how notable it was for Black Onyx to take home three different awards from separate areas of the award ceremony.

“I would say that they are one of a kind when it comes to the success they have seen,” Kelly said. “We have so many clubs that are doing so many great things on this campus, and for Black Onyx to take home those three awards from different entities on campus is a really big feat.”

PSUC Vice President of Student Affairs Bryan Hartman said that although he didn’t necessarily have the sole decision of choosing the winner of these awards, Black Onyx came highly recommended and he concurred completely.

“As a group they stand out and got the recognition they deserve,” Hartman said. “They show great leadership and are consistently making positive changes for our campus.”
Wearrien said he is proud of his group and its accomplishment but stressed that while the recognition is great, he is glad that the issues brought to light by his organization are being addressed across campus, as well.

“Most importantly, we are glad that the college and other organizations are trying their best to make Plattsburgh a better place for everyone,” Wearrien said.

Email Bailey Carlin at

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