BAACC supports students of color through tight-knit community

Emily Pisqui

Recognition of the diversity centers on campus is important for students of color, especially at Colorado State University. With all the underrepresentation and racist incidents on campus, students of color need a safe and welcoming place on campus — the Black/African American Cultural Center is one of those places. 

The BAACC is located in the Lory Student Center next to the Asian/Pacific American Cultural Center. According to their website, the BAACC aims to help students during their college years by offering networking opportunities, mentorship and overall support on campus.


In the Black/African American Cultural Center office, awards won by the  organization are displayed. (Lucy Morantz | The Collegian)

“It honestly helped me so much coming in here because when you’re a freshman, you don’t have a place to be, and people are very groupy when they’re freshmen, and I didn’t want to be part of those groups, so I came here and established myself and found out who I was and found my own people through being here,” said sophomore communications major Cinque Mason. 

Mason said students can gain many things from having that community, such as being part of a family, a sense of belonging, a foundation, help with homework and personal growth. 

There are many reasons why students walk into the diversity centers and make them their home. Corissa Norwood, a fourth-year student studying health and exercise science, said her sister told her to come to the BAACC after she was feeling unsafe during the post-election political climate her freshman year. Norwood felt there was a community coming together to try and find solutions to racism on campus.

“They say there is diversity here, but I don’t really think there is,” Norwood said. “The campus doesn’t try hard to show that we are here, but I do feel like the cultural centers do a good job showing that people of color are welcomed here. Students can gain that community of people that look like them and feel the same way they do, (and you can) feel free to express yourself without worrying about how other people may judge you. There’s a protection factor. … Comfort is here.”

It’s not just about the rich or the white students. It’s still about the students of color. We need to get an education, and we need to feel safe here.” -Corissa Norwood, fourth-year health and exercise science major.

While CSU positions itself as an inclusive, progressive institution, some students feel as though the diversity centers are doing the heavy lifting when it comes to thwarting racist sentiments on campus. 

“This campus needs to be just as safe for us as well,” Norwood said. “It’s not just about the rich or the white students. It’s still about the students of color. We need to get an education, and we need to feel safe here.” 

Feeling overwhelmed as a student is a constant battle many people face. Sophomore Akilah Martin, majoring in interdisciplinary arts, mentioned that going into the BAACC helps not only herself, but others during stressful times in the school year.

Akilah Martin poses for a photo in the Black/African American Cultural Center. (Lucy Morantz | The Collegian)

“When times get hard or when stresses are overwhelming, the BAACC is a place where we can come and talk,” Martin said. “We can calm down and take in everything that is happening. College is hard, but having a strong support system helps me and makes everything a little bit better.”

Knowing there is a safe place on campus for students of color is important because it gives them reassurance that they do in fact belong here on this campus.

“Being part of this center has helped me feel like I do belong here,” Martin said. “It reinstills in me that I have a place at CSU and that I deserve to be here.”


The BAACC has many events on their calendar throughout the semester for members to attend. Their recent one was Rites of Passage at Rollerland Skate Center. 

“It allows us to take our minds off of school, as well as stress, and any other outside environmental stressors; it also allows us to learn a little bit more of our history and each other,” Martin said. “It’s really fun. They want to have a fun, safe environment for us, and considering that we don’t have much of that here (on campus), … the more events that BAACC has, the more people come in (and) the stronger our community is.” 

Being involved in the BAACC opens many doors for students, like finding scholarships or finding jobs on campus. 

“There are so many aspects in this center,” Martin said. “You can do anything. You (can) be anything. This center really instills that the world is yours.” 

Even though the semester is coming to an end, the BAACC still has events coming up, such as their weekly Real Talk on Tuesdays.

For more information on the BAACC’s upcoming events, students can visit their website

Emily Pisqui can be reached at or on Twitter @emilypisq15.