Founded in the summer of 2020, Black Student Support is a confidential discussion group led by two student facilitators who have lived experience in the Black community – Ropa Mungwari, a fourth-year Business Administration student specializing in Entrepreneurship, and Ethel Nalule, a fourth-year Forensic Science and Psychology student. The group is supervised by Faith Mwesigye, special projects coordinator with the Centre for Human Rights and Equity (CHREA).
“Black Student Support has created a space for Black students to connect with one another on a deeper level and relate on things that are common lived experiences, allowing us to have empathy for each other, giving us a space where we can bring every aspect of ourselves without shame or guilt or pressure to be something else,” shared Ms. Mungwari.
While Trent has a number of groups aimed at creating networking opportunities and social events for a diverse student body, including the Trent Association for Black Students and the Trent African Caribbean Student Union, Black Student Support is the first peer-to-peer group on campus for Black students.
“Peer Support groups such as Black Student Support offer a confidential space for peer-to-peer conversation and education-based discussions, facilitated by student staff who have been trained in how to facilitate difficult topics, and trained in active listening and how to respond to confidential disclosures,” explained Ms. Mwesigye. “Facilitators are also very knowledgeable about the resources and other supports available on campus.”
In addition to the confidential discussion group, Black Student Support, which is funded through the Ontario Post-Secondary Access and Inclusion Program (OPAIP), also hosts educational and social events open to the wider campus community.
Looking ahead to the future of the group, Ms. Nalule says, “It holds a lot of potential. So many students needed this so it is nice to see the space exists…I hope it builds a community of confident Black students who know they can do anything and know they can succeed and know they have a group that understands them.”