Campus News

Club to focus on longevity, giving back

Black Student Union
Members and advisors of Kirkwood’s newest club, the Black Student Union. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago, the second best time is right now.” History Professor Jed Peterson said this was the idea that led him to assist in the development of Kirkwood Community College’s Black Student Union.  

Peterson said Ellen Waynawhere, criminal justic major, was in one of his history classes this semester and he went to her with the idea of forming the Black Student Union. 

Waynawhere is only in her second semester at Kirkwood but said she was already seeing the need for a group of this nature as students were looking for more opportunities to celebrate diversity. “During Black History Month, we just got cookies,” Waynawhere stated. She added, “When I was in Jed’s class and he brought the idea to me I was so for it.” 

The group is new this semester, having only met three times, but they are growing in numbers. “The group definitely has a lot of energy,”  stated Blessings Pongo, construction management major. 

With the Black Student Union still in its infancy, members agree it is important to have a strong social aspect to the group. They also plan to heavily focus on giving back to the community of Kirkwood, and the community of Cedar Rapids as a whole. 

Some of the finer details of college and adult life are lost on college-aged students and group members state they hope to give students the tools to be acquainted with these details. The group is aiming to encompass many aspects of adult life, being a place for students to have fun and learn along the way.  Peterson said connecting the members is also beneficial as many are first generation college students. 

Finding longevity for the Black Student Union is a goal shared throughout all the members of the group. Waynawhere stated, “We are trying to build something where, in 25 years when Jed’s not teaching, I’m not in school anymore, it’s still a thing.” 

That is the hope for this group. Planting the tree now to see it grow into something that will give future students a chance to help their community and grow with it.

Students interested in joining can contact either of the advisors at or 

Image courtesy of Contributed

Categories: Campus News, News