Black Student Union Presents at University Day

     Kajuan Minter, mentored by Shirley Rush, presented to a captivated audience on University Day 2022. Flying solo, Minter spoke on behalf of UMPI’s Black Student Union (BSU). “The first ever BSU was founded in 1966 at San Francisco State University,” he said, opening his presentation. “After that, they were started on other campuses across the nation.” The University of Maine at Presque Isle’s BSU started in 2017. Former UMPI student, Riana Teixeria, was instrumental in the establishment of a BSU on UMPI’s campus. “She was an amazing, driven and passionate woman,” Minter said of his former BSU President. “Without her, I don’t think BSU would exist (at UMPI) because she was so outspoken. She really pushed for a lot of things culture-wise for Black people here. She was the start of that, her and Miss Shirley. We just try to keep it going for them.”

For more information about how to join BSU, contact Kajuan (KJ) Minter at

     BSU’s mission is to create a safe place for Black students on campus. “A lot of us are coming from different environments and situations,” Minter said. “I’m from Maryland and being here is a whole culture change. I’m from the city, I’m used to hearing sirens.” Minter says the differences in culture for him and other members of the BSU can create a sense of discomfort and not belonging. “There’re not many people like us,” he said. “You don’t know who to relate to. You don’t know who to go to. You don’t know your resources. It’s like a complete fresh start. You got to learn people and people got to learn you.”

     Now the president of the BSU himself, Minter spoke of the support that BSU provides students who might struggle with these concepts. “BSU kind of gives that safe place,” he said. “You know, ‘Me and you are from the same area.’ We can relate to each other. We understand.” 

     BSU also strives to promote a sense of belonging for Black students. “Being from the city, being comfortable,” he said. “You feel like you belong there because you see people of your color. Out here, it’s different.” He believes that not only does BSU allow students to feel as if their voices are heard, but it creates a supportive environment. “Your voice is important,” he said. “And people here will listen to it. You just have to use it. When I joined BSU, I learned that.”