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Black Student Union Leader Aims to Elevate Black Student Success

Business Administration Student Seyi Alli to Participate in CSU Juneteenth Symposium
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As president of the Black Student Union, Cal State Fullerton business administration major Seyi Alli wants to learn more about fostering dialogue and elevating Black student success.

To do that, Alli is among CSUF students, staff, faculty and administrators attending the California State University’s second biennial Juneteenth Symposium June 13-14 at Sacramento State.

“Let Freedom Ring, Breaking Chains and Elevating to New Heights” is this year’s theme, dedicated to fostering commitments across CSU campuses to invest in and enhance the lives of Black students. Juneteenth (June 19) is a federal holiday celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S.

Alli, entering her senior year in the fall, is studying entertainment and hospitality management. She is excited about attending the two-day symposium to learn from world-class speakers; network with Black leaders about race, culture and social justice issues; and meet fellow students across CSU campuses. 

Seyi Alli, Black Student Union president
Seyi Alli, president of CSUF’s Black Student Union

“I’m glad to see us all come together for an important day in our history,” said Alli, who aspires to a career in the music industry and will intern at Live Nation Entertainment beginning this month.

The Black Student Union is an inter-club council serving 11 campus clubs: The Afro-Ethnic Student Association, Alliance for the Preservation of African Consciousness, Black Business Student Association, Divine Servants, East African Student Association, Into the Roots, The Movement, National Association of Black Journalists, Nigerian Student Association, National Society of Black Engineers and SisterTalk. 

Alli shared that the member clubs build a united front among the university’s Black and African American student organizations and foster student growth and development through diversity, academics, community service and outreach. 

“As Black students, we learn more about the world and ourselves. United, we are a power unto ourselves,” said Alli, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Nigeria, which is why she co-founded the Nigerian Student Association and serves as co-president. 

What does Juneteenth mean to you?

Juneteenth means freedom — that our people are free from being enslaved. It’s a time to celebrate with friends and family.

What opportunities at CSUF have shaped your educational and career goals?

My experience at CSUF has been very rewarding. I’ve been involved with Associated Students Inc., including co-hosting the spring concert, and the University Honors Program. I have lived on campus for the past three years, which has enhanced my college journey. I lived in the residence hall for business majors in my first year. During my second and third years, I lived within the Ujima Community for Black students, which offers educational, cultural and social events.

Why are you involved with the Black Student Union?

My college success has also come from opportunities outside the classroom through the BSU and NSA. The BSU offers a sense of community, and as Black students, we share a special bond. I’m entering my second year as BSU president, where I lead meetings, serve as spokesperson, represent the organization’s views to the campus and community and delegate tasks to the executive board. I didn’t see myself getting involved on campus because I wanted to focus on my academics. However, former BSU leaders saw potential in me and believed in me — even before I did, and I will forever be grateful to them. I’ve made many lifelong friendships; the rewards are endless.

How has the BSU prepared you for your future career?

The BSU has helped me develop my leadership and problem-solving skills and build self-confidence, which will benefit me in my future career in the music industry. What’s been most rewarding is seeing how our work inspires more students to take on leadership positions to keep our movement alive. I’ve also been instrumental in fostering strong connections with campus administration to ensure Black students are set up for success. 

What initiatives would you like to see to enhance Black student success on campus?

I’ve had many conversations with fellow Black students, and the common response is the need for general support and a space for open dialogue. Investing in more Black academic advisers and therapists would substantially help to increase Black student education and success. Hiring more Black faculty and staff is also important so students receive guidance from someone who looks like them. It makes a difference. 

“Let Freedom Ring: Breaking Chains and Elevating to New Heights” is a free livestream event open to all. Register at

Debra Cano Ramos