Surprise Award for PBSU Presented by President Nicklow

Surprise+Award+for+PBSU+Presented+by+President+Nicklow

Veronika Lee, Editor in Chief

Several weeks ago, Dr. Nicklow extended an invitation to the PBSU (Progressive Black Student Union) to attend a UNO Men’s Basketball game for “special recognition.” Little did the organization’s members or its president, Taylor Miles, know that they were about to be presented with President’s Cup award. 

Miles exclaims, “[W]e had no idea when we walked on the court Saturday night that we were being awarded the President’s Cup! It’s a great honor, really, to receive any acknowledgement, but to receive one of the highest spirit awards from the university president felt different. It shows me that hard work truly does pay off. It also reminds me to continue to always put my best foot forward in everything I do, no matter who is watching, because someone is always watching. Overall it feels amazing. This is a big deal for PBSU or for any student organization really. I’m just so proud of my team.”

Driftwood talked to Miles, a biology/pre-med major, about the organization and its upcoming goals. According to Miles, “PBSU, as far as I know, has been around and present on campus for quite a while and was created to unify, uplift and empower African American students on and off campus. It was created to give us a voice.”

The senior joined PBSU her freshman year, in the fall of 2016, as she was just “trying to come out of my shell.” As a senior, she is proud to report that she has seen the union grow significantly. “I honestly had no intentions on becoming president, I enjoyed my role as secretary. When our advisor Taurean (Mingo) informed me no one wanted to step in to lead, I was very hesitant, but God never seats you at a table you don’t belong at, so here I am.”

According to Miles, there has been some controversy regarding the term “progressive” in the union’s name but she believes the organization meets the definition. She adds, “[T]his year I believe we have lived up to the expectation of what it means to be progressive and united. This year in particular, PBSU was more focused on campus involvement, collaboration, and community engagement. UNO is a great school, but in the past we have lacked in successfully involving students and engaging the community. As the current president I have great expectations and hopes for the future of PBSU. I think this year’s executive board set a great example for next year’s team.”

Driftwood fans will recall PBSU’s first ever Trunk or Treat that was held in October. Miles refers to it as her “baby.” (Driftwood participated!)  “We wanted to provide a safe and fun trick or treat experience for the youth of the community and I’m so proud to say that it was a huge success. We put in long late night hours at the library planning for the event. We went out to local elementary and middle schools to promote. We also reached out to local news and radio stations; and though we didn’t expect to receive any response, we were so surprised when one of the parents shared with us a video she took at home from WDSU News promoting our Trunk or Treat. I was shocked. And to have other student organizations and departments participate and support us meant the world to me. Words can’t explain how proud I was and still am to this very day that we were able to do that for the community. It’s definitely one for the books.”

Despite the hard work Miles and her colleagues put in, she insists that the program’s advisor, Taurean Mingo, reminds all members that they are “students first.” PBSU emphasizes student academic achievement at UNO .Mingo says no matter how involved or dedicated students in PBSU want to be, they are at UNO to obtain their degrees and to move up in life so the importance of academics is emphasized.  “We are such a diverse group of people and we have many different colleges represented in our organization; so I feel not one single person should be struggling academically because there is someone who knows someone who knows the answer to your homework or study questions. Like our VP John, he’s so smart and some members have reached out to him for homework help in physics…because physics is no joke! So that always makes me happy. We definitely are a family and look out for each other on and off campus. And that’s what I wanted PBSU to feel like this year, like a family always looking out for each other and holding each other accountable. I also try to remind our members to take full advantage of their college experience. College is all about networking, which is such a necessity in today’s world and if you’re not taking advantage of it, it’s a waste of your money in my opinion.”

So what’s next for Miles, who graduates in May? She says she plans on applying to medical school to become an ob-gyn and to work towards improving the quality of women’s sexual and reproductive health. “I also want to start an organization to provide accurate and comprehensive health education to girls and young women..”

In the future, she hopes PBSU’s reach will exceed its grasp, extending itself to a larger audience. 

“I think we did a good job of growing our members (we had about 60 members this year, I think the most we’ve ever had) and expanding our presence on and off campus, but there’s always more. I hope they never settle or get too comfortable. Comfort kills ambition!”

 

Students interested in PBSU can follow us on Instagram @uno.pbsu. There is also an email list, so even if you’re not necessarily interested in becoming a member, but would like to stay up to date on events, you’ll get emails of what’s up next. The email list is also great for those who don’t have social media. Meetings are held  every Tuesday in the Student Success Center on the first floor of the library from 12:30 -1:30 p.m.