The Princeton Black Student Union (BSU) hosted the University of Pennsylvania’s Black Students League (BSL) when the two schools’ football teams faced off at Powers Field on November 19 after the game.
The collaboration was created after black students at both Princeton and UPenn saw an opportunity to strengthen ties between the two campuses. In interviews with The Daily Princetonian, the organizers of the event reflected on what made the day a success.
“An event like this enabled the blossoming and creation of potential lifelong cross-campus connections between individuals and also between the two Black communities as a whole,” said Kimberly Cross ’25, who serves as co-chair of public affairs at Princeton BSU.
Cross explained that it is important to nurture the community beyond individual colleges. She said she encourages black students and other students of color to make connections with communities at neighboring universities.
“Community isn’t just limited to your university. Community can and does exist outside the gates of Princeton University or your particular university. Access these external communities,” Cross told the Prince.
Christopher Butcher ’25, who also serves as outreach co-chair of Princeton BSU, wrote in a message to the ‘Prince’ that the event was a significant springboard in terms of the type of events hosted on Princeton’s campus and in terms of is centered on black students.
“Princeton is known as ‘Southernmost’ Ivy and has a reputation for being an inhospitable place for black students, so I hope black students will internalize that we can create these safe/fun spaces for each other when our university doesn’t.” , Butcher wrote .
Tyler McCormick, the current president of the UPenn BSL chapter, made a similar point in an interview with The Prince, highlighting what he thinks is important when the two groups come together.
“This trip, and trips like this, are essential because they allow Black students to expand the Black community beyond our specific schools and build a larger community of Black students throughout the Ivy League,” he noted.
The University of Pennsylvania BSL chapter originally pitched the idea for the event to Princeton BSU — a simple public relations moment that kickstarted plans for the crossover event.
McCormick explained that the idea for a collaboration came to life after a similar event his group held with the Harvard Black Students Association (BSA) in the fall of 2021.
“I was introduced to Princeton BSU member Kimberly Cross by a mutual friend when she visited Penn’s campus last spring. Kim let me know that we could do a weekend together with the Princeton Black Student Union and the idea took off from there. We worked hard from the summer through the fall semester and made the event possible,” he said.
But despite the excitement, McCormick shared that there were some challenges in the planning process.
“We had to spend many weeks going through funding bodies to get the necessary funding for this event, and it was difficult to set up the logistics for things like shuttles between campus and the hotel,” he said.
Despite the difficulties, the event seems to have proved successful: the UPenn BSL community is already planning additional stops on their Ivy League tour. Among the dozens taking part in the overnight trip from UPenn to Princeton were students from a number of senior year classes.
Aria Osborne, a first-grader at UPenn, described it as a “wonderful weekend.”
“Just seeing black students having fun freely and happily created a warm, welcoming atmosphere,” Osborne said.
When asked what he thought attendees would take away from the joint event, McCormick shared that he hoped “students would go home with a sense of community.”
“I know that sometimes being a black student at a PWI can be uncomfortable,” he said. “I hope the students left with a sense of community.”
Princeton’s BSU and UPenn’s BSL co-hosted a pre-football tailgate, game night, and post-game afterparty.
Bailey Glenetske is an Assistant News Editor who often covers breaking news, food clubs and university affairs.
Justus Wilhoit is a news editor for the ‘Prince.‘
Please direct all corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.