This article was originally published at www.theparadigmpress.com
One of the best ways for the black community at FAU to connect with each other is through the Black FAU Groupme group chat. Most people are added during their freshman year and use the chat as a way to stay up to date on events, promote black business, and reach out when they need help with something both school and life related. The chat is growing more and more each day and is used daily, but where did this chat come from?
The chat was created the summer of 2015 by Chelsie Oakley but later that same year Jazzy Jeff, a school counseling major and local DJ, took over the chat. He is now referred to as the “Black FAU Ambassador” in the chat.
“The chat first served as a way for members of the Black FAU community to connect during the summertime,” said Jeff. Since then, the chat has grown to over 800 members and is used year-round for conversation and promotion. The chat also allows students to meet other students with similar interest and get help with their coursework.
The chat grows every year as freshman and transfer students come to FAU and gives new students a sense of community while trying to navigate the newness of college, “At FAU, those of the black community can tend to get lost within such a diverse community. This chat is an opportunity for everyone to get acquainted with everyone of a minority background,” said Jeff.
Recently the chat has taken a bit of a shift and has become more promo based which has gotten mixed reviews. “I feel that flyers are a way to inform people of what is going on both on and off campus, but sometimes that's all people are programmed to do instead of actually conversing like we used to,” said Jeff.
Some people voiced their irritation that you couldn’t have a conversation in the chat without flyers popping up mid-conversation.
Others suggested that the chat have a no promo rule or at least only have certain days where promo is allowed. One member is the chat said:
When asked whether or not regulations such as these would be put in place Jeff said, “That is still an idea, but I think the social shift is coming back a little. I've seen less promo and a little more conversation. If it comes back to where we just have flyer after flyer after flyer then we'll go back to designating days that are for promo only. I feel it starts with leadership, so if people like myself and some of the others ideally promo less and less then others may be more inclined to follow. Same with conversation, if we speak more and more about topics that are important or relevant, then others will be more inclined to follow.”
Since the quarantine started, the chat has become more conversation based. This could be because there aren’t any events to promote or maybe people are ready to return to a more conversation based chat. As the incoming freshman and transfer students come in, the chat will continue to grow allowing the community to connect even more.
“The overall goal of this chat is to continue to grow as a community on campus. With the support of the Black Student Union and other predominantly Black orgs, we should be able to communicate effectively and remain informed about things that affect us as students on campus, ” said Jeff.
Names were redacted to respect the sender’s privacy