Understanding that graduate and professional students of African descent are an underrepresented population and are collectively faced with a number of issues unique to students of color;
Understanding that the nation's communities, schools, and industries are becoming increasingly more diverse in populations, but not necessarily in voices; Understanding the unique contributions that an empowered community of students of African descent can make to the greater community around the University of Minnesota;
Understanding that the University of Minnesota has a commitment to diversity; The graduate and professional students of African descent of the University of Minnesota do hereby organize the Black Graduate and Professional Students Association.
The primary mission of BGAPSA is to support graduate and professional students of African descent in their quest to graduation by building a community where they might express their successes and stresses, participate in social events and educational experiences, and engage in the broader community through service. As an organization, BGAPSA endeavors to ensure that as we grow we continue to keep this central purpose in mind. To plan future events and programs accordingly, the organization is currently striving to host more academic forums and community involvement projects than in past years. These types of events will ensure that we have a variety of meaningful opportunities to engage our membership.
BGAPSA members come from all corners of the African Diaspora and from various different personal backgrounds. In many cases, though, they are united in that they part of a severely underrepresented minority in their respective departments. Involvement in BGAPSA provides the opportunity to proactively address the isolation that many such members may feel, by bringing together students with similar perspectives and understanding. Additionally, the academic events provide the chance for members to have input in the type of programming they would like to see on campus related to issues of the African Diaspora. This is a unique opportunity that few would be afforded otherwise. The community involvement aspect of organizational programming allows the members to ground their graduate school experience in the broader community and provides an avenue for service to that community.
While focused on Black graduate and professional students across all programs and from all backgrounds, BGAPSA welcomes all students who are dedicated to its vision and its goals. Moreover, BGAPSA's unique emphasis on community and service translates into a close and collaborative relationship with numerous organizations at the University and outside the University.
The purpose of this association is as follows:
To support the successful completion of graduate or professional degrees for students of African descent across all programs at the University of Minnesota
To build community among graduate/professional students of African descent through professional development, educational experiences, and social events.
To facilitate the professional development aims of members beyond their present graduate programs.
To establish an open forum where a critical mass of people of African descent are encouraged to discuss ideas, concepts, and concerns
To reflect the diversity of experiences and perspectives among members while providing a significant "unified voice" of students of African descent.
To increase awareness of the issues facing people of African descent on the broader University of Minnesota campus.
To collaborate and engage effectively in community involvement and service of graduate and professional students of African descent at University of Minnesota and Greater Twin Cities communities.