News Article

Empowering Voices: Inside the Black Students Network at KCLSU

In a recent interview, Folajimi Olanrewaju shed light on the vital work of the Black Students Network at King's College London. Here’s an overview of the discussion with Folajimi, who shards insights on the network's mission, challenges faced, and future initiatives. 

What is the Black Students Network?  

The Black Students Network serves as a hub for anyone affiliated with the Black community at KCL. It provides a platform for networking, discussions, and addressing concerns specific to the Black student body. Currently comprising of six members, the network aims to expand its reach in the future. A lot of our work is to see what needs improving and what initiatives we can implement when building a sense of community within King’s. 

Why did you join the Black Students Network? 

I joined the network to foster connections and tackle the sense of disconnection I felt during my initial years at KCL. Partly because I was based at the Denmark Hill Campus, which compared to other campuses is just less integrated into student life at King's. Also, partly because of the fear and apprehension with getting involved, and I didn't know of the Black Students network beforehand. I thought it'd be a great opportunity to network with other students who are in the same community as me and as well as those who may not be. My motivation stemmed from the desire to address issues faced by Black students, enhance representation, and create a safer, more inclusive environment within the university community. 

What do you enjoy the most about being part of the network? 

Being the first point of contact for the network, I appreciate the opportunity to take the lead in planning initiatives. I value the chance to network with fellow Black students, a privilege I hadn't experienced before. Despite the progress, I believe there's still room for improvement in ensuring Black students feel truly valued and included. 

What kind of projects and events do you organise? 

Right now, the network’s focuses are on bridging the gap between KCLSU and Black students, aiming to boost involvement and representation. By encouraging participation in leadership roles within the union, the network seeks to empower Black students. We aim to make sure that Black students get involved more in leadership roles in committees, society, and even more importantly in KCLSU Elections. Having a Black President or Vice President would have a huge impact in the sense of representation and belonging withing the Back community at King’s.

What kind of challenges do you encounter as a network and how do you overcome them? 

One of the primary challenges faced is the lack of engagement from some students. Overcoming this hurdle requires active encouragement and involvement from all students, not just Black students. I emphasise the importance of allies and supporters who actively engage and demonstrate their commitment to the cause. 

What is Black History Month and what does it represent for you as a network? How do you celebrate it?

Black History Month signifies a time for education and celebration. It offers an opportunity to delve into the often-overlooked history of Black people in the UK. The network utilises this month to educate students about the rich history of the Black community in the UK and celebrate their contributions - one initiative that is in the pipeline for the forum is the Black Students Leaders Panel. While this was scheduled for an earlier date, we are currently channelising our energy in building a robust relationship with KCLSU. As the co-VP of Psychedelic Research Society, I have also organised a talk on race in academia to educate and engage with the student community.  

What are your future plans with the network and your society? 

For the network, the focus lies on building a stronger relationship with KCLSU and encouraging greater engagement from Black students. The goal is to host more events and empower students to take on active roles within the union. As for the Psychedelic Research Society, plans include organising talks and launching a podcast, enhancing opportunities for learning and discussion. 

Folajimi's journey with the Black Student's Network at King's reflects a broader commitment to inclusivity and representation within university spaces. They wish to see a more effective collaboration with KCLSU for future initiatives, with the Black community taking up more active leadership roles. Through education, collaboration, and active involvement, the network continues to make strides toward a more inclusive and supportive community for all students.  


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