C/O Ainsley Thurgood, Photo Assistant
After opening up virtually in September, BSSC opened in person for the first time during Black History Month
McMaster’s Black Student Success Centre aims to foster community, success and general well-being among Black students at McMaster. It first opened virtually on Sept. 27 and has been offering services online to Black students since then.
In February of this year, the BSSC opened its in-person services, officially running out of room M07 in the Peter George Centre for Living and Learning. Having an in-person space has allowed the BSSC to continue to grow the ways in which it is able to support Black students.
Jordan Lentinello, the administrative assistant of the BSSC, explained that having an in-person space has been vital for community building, which is one of the main goals of the BSSC.
“[You can] technically build community online and we’ve seen that happen time and time again, but it just feels different when it’s in person,” said Lentinello.
Lentinello added that online communities, while still beneficial, can make people experience screen fatigue and cannot always combat feelings of isolation. In contrast, the physical space strengthens the community experience and allows students to form friendships naturally. As well, the new in-person component of the BSSC makes it more accessible to students.
“So many folks are quite literally dropping in, discovering this space through word of mouth, which we’ve been really excited about,” said Lentinello.
Lentinello stressed that the BSSC is a student-driven space that is built to last, even as its current participants graduate and new students become part of it. This, Lentinello said, sets the BSSC apart from student groups on campus, which may be able to offer support for a period of time but may also struggle with continuity.
According to Lentinello, having a space that is built to last is vital for fostering the success and well-being of Black students at McMaster.
“This creates consistency, this creates legacy and this creates a tangible impact and dedication to the success of the Black students,” said Lentinello.
The BSSC is currently running a number of mental health related sessions, such as Black student athlete check-ins and Black student peer support services. More information about how to access these services can be found here.