Our Vision – What We Aspire To Be And Do

The Black Student Success Centre is dedicated to supporting and championing the holistic (academic, personal and professional) success and overall well-being of Black/African descent students and fostering a positive Black student and athlete experience. The Centre is a safe space where students can meet, share, socialize and access specialized support and services.

Our Purpose – Why We Exist

Black students across Canadian universities sometimes feel isolated on campuses and are less likely to access student support services. The BSSC exists to connect Black students to the programs, people, and resources that will nurture their academic and personal growth. Our programmes and services focus on building a sense of belonging and safety amongst McMaster’s Black students.

Our Values & Approach to Work

We are guided by Ubuntu, an ancient African philosophy. Translated from the Xhosa language, Ubuntu means “I am because you Are.” Ubuntu emphasizes the importance of connection, community and collective empowerment and success. We are therefore committed to:

  • Being student-centered and will involve you in the development of the Centre and its programming.
  • Recognizing the diversity among Black students and meeting the needs of students who exist at the intersections of different marginalized identities.
  • Collaborating with campus and community partners to develop programming and services that enhance Black students’ experience at university.
  • Celebrating the unique histories, cultures and contributions of people of African descent.

Our Logo & What it Communicates

Designed by Aaron Parry, McMaster Graduate Student

Black represents the rich diversity of our shared stories and points of connection – embracing and including us all, across our intersecting identities.

Gold symbolizes the prosperity and resources of Africa, Africans, and people of African descent. The gold reflects how the BSSC views students – they are gems who possess gifts and talents that enrich the McMaster community.

Adinkra symbol stands for excellence, genuineness, and authenticity. Contrary to anti-Black racist stereotypes that frame Black people as inferior, the BSSC conceptualizes students as valued and excellent. Students will be empowered, inspired, challenged, supported, and provided the tools, resources, and skill-building opportunities needed to nurture and release their excellence. They will be equipped with tools to enhance and/or restore their mental health, self-esteem, and wellbeing.

AYA fern represents endurance and resourcefulness. Despite the barriers that Black students face in higher education, many have endured, thrived, and have gone on to excel and achieve their goals and dreams and those of their families and communities. Many Black students have needed to be resourceful in the ways they have navigated often-difficult environments. Instead of Black students journeying alone, the BSSC endeavours to be a resource that supports students and assists them in imagining a brighter tomorrow.

Notice that the symbol for Excellence is intentionally held together by the “hardy” ferns. This is key for BSSC; we are looking to the future with optimism, coaching students to imagine a brighter tomorrow. #BrighterWorld

It was important for us to bring Black culture and excellence into our Brighter World brand, and for students to see themselves in the branding and the story that we are trying to tell.