On Feb. 19, Union Board sponsored a trip to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit to celebrate Black History Month.
The process of making this trip happen was born from a push by Leslie Tovar, Dallas junior and the vice president of off-campus events for Union Board.
“I told Jen (Yawson, Union Board faculty advisor and director for Campus Life) how I wanted to add more culture and culture appreciation and stuff like that into our events that we had, especially off-campus,” said Tovar.
Tovar became interested in incorporating more elements of cultural appreciation and unbiased history into off-campus activities, including how Black history content may be presented in schools through a more favorable point of view towards white men.
“I think it’s great that we all wanna have fun,” said Tovar. “But I also feel like it’s that aspect of people who don’t get to explore the city or maybe learn more of what’s not here or maybe what they didn’t get when growing up. I feel like it’s good to open it up and make them see that there’s more than this because I feel that the education system explains everything from a white person’s point of view.”
Once the event was proposed, the event went to Yawson for approval. Yawson made the necessary phone calls to ensure that the trip happened as originally envisioned. A few calls were made to accommodate students visiting the museum, receive the college’s approval for the trip and arrange transportation for the event, among others.
While Tovar did rely on Yawson for much of the approval process, they did what they could throughout the approval process to ensure that the trip occurred.
“I guess the most we’ve done was, because we’re also offering food, we’d call different restaurants and be like, ‘hey, are you able to take this many people if we come in,’” said Tovar.
When compared to other events held off-campus, Tovar made it clear that the scale of an event played a role in making a trip like this possible.
“I think with approving stuff, it just depends on what we’re doing. If it’s within the state, within Michigan, and it’s in Detroit for example, I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” said Tovar. “It just depends, because I know for Cedar Point, that’s bigger because that was the amusement park we went to last semester, we had to get all the tickets. And then we needed food vouchers, so I feel that it just depends on how big the trip is because for that one we had to drive out to Ohio.”
Correction: The original publication of this article misidentified Tovar’s position and has since been corrected.