Nearly 300 alumni and students gathered on Zoom for the first Black Student Group Showcase March 17. The event included Princetonians whose class years range from 1964 to 2024, according to Tessa Kaneene ’07, a board member of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni (ABPA).
Participants answered trivia questions about the history of Princeton’s Black community, learned more about Black student groups on campus in a series of student-led breakout sessions, and listened to a keynote by Frantzesca Barron ’22, president of the Black Student Union (BSU).
Barron said building relationships between Black students and alumni can provide valuable networking and professional-development opportunities, along with social connections. “My main message was for everyone to get to know at least one person [after the Zoom],” said Barron, who practiced what she preached by arranging a call with ABPA president Eric Plummer ’10.
The Princeton Black Leadership Coalition and ABPA worked with Grace Penn ’99, associate director of alumni communities, and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Students to plan and promote the event, which organizers hope to hold annually. Kaneene said the conversations between alumni and students were positive and powerful.
Barron added that it was helpful to learn about the history of today’s Black student groups and the ones that preceded them. For example, Princeton’s BSU was formed in 2001, but other organizations, such as the Association of Black Collegians, played similar roles on campus beginning in the 1960s.