The annual Black Student Union pageant was postponed from its original February date to the last week of March because of the late return to campus, according to Ahnia Leary, Black Student Union president.
The last pageant was held in February 2020, prior to the city shutting down because of the pandemic.. With more than two years since the last pageant, Leary said students miss the celebration of Black excellence.
The dates for the Student Organization Summit, which student organizations must attend in order to apply for allocations to fund events, were later than usual, Leary said. Leary said there wasn’t enough time to apply for allocations and to plan the pageant, especially with Mardi Gras around the corner, Leary said. The funding from the Student Government Association would cover the decorations, catering, and compensation for special guests who speak at the pageant, Leary said.
Student organizations and their in-person events were pushed back two weeks. In an email sent Dec 30, 2021, Loyola President Tania Tetlow announced that the beginning of the spring semester, which started on Jan 18, would be all online. In-person classes resumed Jan 31.
“Everyone was affected, but (student organizations) were particularly disadvantaged because now is the time for them to program,” senator at large for the College of Arts and Sciences Stephanie Oblena said.
She said that BSU “helps not only better educate and raise awareness in the community, but also provides that community for those that need support.”
The pageant includes multiple rounds, including interview questions, a talent portion, and a streetwear and formal-wear show. It also features judges, who score the contestants, and hosts, who engage the audience, Leary said. This year, the theme is Black Royalty, an all black affair. Attendees are urged to wear all black and formal clothing. The 2020 winners will return to crown the new winners, according to Leary.
Robert Morrison III, who was crowned Mr. BSU in Spring 2020, said, “the pageant my freshmen year was one of the first chances I had to really feel a part of the Black Loyola experience, connection, and family.”
The pageant is scheduled for March 31, but the location is unconfirmed. With a new, later, date confirmed, Leary said BSU has been working diligently to make the two year wait worth it.
“BSU is working really hard to put this event together to make it as great of an event as possible,” Leary said.
Artie Bennett contributed to this story.