Editor's note: In honor of the university's centennial year, The Daily News is counting down 100 days to the university's celebration Sept. 6 with 100 of Ball State's most famous traditions and figures. Check back each day to read about Cardinal history.
Ball State’s Asian American Student Association, Black Student Association, Latinx Student Union and Spectrum have come to be known as the Big 4 multicultural organization.
The groups were formerly located in the Multicultural Center but are now centered in the Office of Student Life. They host a variety of events throughout the year, separately and together to help educate students on different cultures and customs.
Here is a quick look at the Big 4 organizations:
Asian American Student Association (AASA)
The organization first became official March 26, 1991.
Asian American Student Association, formerly known as Asian Student Association, is a group of students whose purpose is to provide cultural and educational programming about Asian American history, culture and interests, according to its Benny Link profile.
Its primary goal is to “provide cultural pride and facilitate the development of campus environment conducive to cultural appreciation.” The organization does this through programming including education speakers, comedy shows and cultural games.
Members do not have to be Asian or of Asian descent to become a member. Membership and programming is free to everyone.
Black Student Association (BSA)
Ball State’s Black Student Association was officially recognized as an organization May 22, 1969.
The organization, formerly known as Black Student Union, aims to develop close cooperation among black students and other campus organizations, according to its Benny Link profile.
There, the organization does work to promote its mission to “aide in the growth and development of Ball State collegiate students through a series of culturally, socially, and academically focused discussions and programs from a unique African-American perspective.”
In order to achieve this mission, BSA hosts various events throughout the year where students can grow through community service, campus involvement and professional development. These events also help the group “develop and promote unity within the minority community and intensify the Black voice,” at Ball State, according to its Benny Link.
Members do not have to be African American or of African descent to join as the club is open to everyone.
Latinx Student Union (LSU)
Before it officially became recognized as a student organization on May 1, 1987, Latinx Student Union (LSU) was an interest group called Hispanic Student Association, according to its Bennylink page.
Originally, the group’s goal was to establish the North American Hispanic Association. Later, the group became known as La Allianza De Estudiantes Lationos (The Alliance of Latino Students, LADEL). In 1999, LADEL became the Latino Student Union and in November 2016 the organization voted to change its name to Latinx Student Union to be more inclusive.
Today, LSU works to “promote the identity and unity of Latinx students at Ball State University through intellectual, cultural, and social growth,” according to its Benny Link.
Members of LSU don’t have to be Latinx and can participate in the organization’s various events throughout the year, including Fiesta on the Green, Latinxpalooza, Immigrants' Workshop, Food for Thought, Unity Week and United States Hispanic Leadership Conference (USHLI).
A couple of years before the Stonewall Riots, college students started LGBT organizations on campus. In 1974, Spectrum started as the Ball State Gay Alliance, according to the Ball State Digital Media Repository.
The organization was on and off throughout the years, but in the 1990s, the group became a staple to campus culture.
Then known as the Lesbian, Bisexual, and Gay Student Association (LBGSA), the organization strived to become a safe place for members of the LGBTQIA community. In a 1993 edition of The Ball State Daily News, then LBGSA president announced SAFE ON-Campus — an initiative to make a safe LGBT community at Ball State.
Today, Spectrum works in collaboration with Safezone, which is a network at the university that believes everyone has an equal opportunity. The organization’s motto — "just because you're here doesn't mean you're queer" — invites everyone to join, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Read more centennial content here.
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