This post was written by Samantha Givens (MBA’21), Chair of Professional Development for the OBSA board.
The kick-off to the Black History Month celebrations at Owen started early on Monday, February 3, with an Opening Bell celebration for the entirety of the student body. As my bright-eyed peers started off their first classes of the day, they were greeted with donuts, warm welcomes, and the accomplishments of Black historical figures playing throughout the screens in the lobby. That energy carried throughout the rest of the week’s activities as well.
Throughout the week, in support of the Identity and Innovation speaker series, we heard from Black leaders from around Nashville. Dr. Andre Churchwell, Chief Diversity Officer at VUMC, kicked off the series by speaking on the importance of diversity of thought in practice. Hearing how he has been able to merge his passion for art and medicine to yield tangible innovations and advancements was inspiring. As an MBA student who also has a love for photography and poetry, I learned practical ways to practice my passions in an intersecting way — an incredible takeaway.
Next up in the speaker series was Khrys Hatch from Launch Tennessee. During the lunch session, attendees had a wonderful discourse about imposter syndrome and how to overcome it. It was great to hear the perspectives of peers and share some of my own experiences. That same evening, we enjoyed Black Jeopardy, where students from Owen and the Vanderbilt Law School came together and played jeopardy based on facts about African and African American history.
Before I knew it, Black History Month kickoff week was coming to a marvelous close with an OBSA-hosted Closing Bell. The event was well attended and allowed Black culture to be showcased to the greater student body. There was a step show and a playlist for the evening, replete with all the classics and topped off with a swag surf. I was incredibly excited to share this evening of so much pride, energy, and all-around fun with the Owen community. —Samantha Givens