Karissa Cole and Makaela Swinny place laminated stars on the walkways of the UAFS Smith-Pendergraft Campus Center ahead of Black History Month.Throughout the month of February, UAFS will honor Black History month thanks to the dedication of the Black Student Association, the Campus Activities Board and the Student Affairs Diversity Committee on campus.


“We have worked collaboratively with other organizations on campus to create a slate of events for Black History Month,” shared BSA president Karissa Cole, a senior Marketing major.

“Our goal is to make sure every student feels welcomed, to make sure they know our campus is diverse, that they are safe here, and that they have space to talk about important things,” added Makaela Swinny, Cultural and Awareness Committee leader.


For the entire month, the corridors of the Smith Pendergraft Campus Center will be transformed into a Walk of Fame. Students created stars to adorn the floors featuring the names of influential leaders of color. In addition to well-known historical figures, the student groups selected black leaders who have continued to shape the Fort Smith region, such as Mayor George McGill, the first black mayor of Fort Smith, and Charolette Tidwell, community leader and founder of Antioch for Youth and Family.


The full slate of student-led events includes:


Black History Month Trivia Tournament:

February 4, 12, 20, from noon to 1 p.m. at the Campus Center Fireplace

This three-week tournament will allow contestants to earn cumulative points toward a final trivia total. The top three competitors with the quickest answers will earn a prize. 


Kings and Queens Discussion

Tuesday, February 4, at 6 p.m. in the Windgate Theatre

This a collaborative effort between community partners and the university will feature a forum on relationships and treating one another as kings and queens. Whether the relationships are romantic, familial, parental, or platonic, the forum will provide an opportunity to discuss real-life issues, as well as ways of healing past hurts and positively dealing with issues.  


Safe Space: Share Your Voice

Wednesday, February 19, at 11 a.m., in the Reynolds Room 

This panel will be moderated by and feature a panel of UAFS students who will discuss issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“For this semester’s segment of our Safe Space series, we wanted to give diverse students a chance to speak up about inclusion on campus,” said Cole. “We feel this is a crucial discussion to have this semester, as we are searching for an Executive Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.” 


Chat & Chew

Thursday, February 20, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Lion’s Den Dining Hall

The annual Black History Month meal will feature a twist this year, adding an interactive portion to the event. Tables will feature topics pertaining to black history, as well as a representative from one of the three hosting organizations to help begin and facilitate conversations.

Rachel Rodemann Putman
Date Posted: 
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
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