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 Nov. 19. The two organizations led joint community-building programming on Princeton’s campus before and after the game.
The collaboration was launched after Black students at both Princeton and UPenn saw an opportunity to strengthen ties across the two campuses. In interviews with The Daily Princetonian, event organizers reflected on what made the day a success.
“An event like this allowed for the blossoming and creating potential lifelong cross-campus connections between the individuals and also both Black communities as a whole,” said Kimberly Cross ’25, who serves as the outreach co-chair of the Princeton BSU.
Cross explained that it is important to foster community beyond individual colleges. She said that she encourages Black students and other students of color to explore forming ties with communities at neighboring universities.
“Community is not limited to just your university. Community can and does exist outside the gates of Princeton University or your respective university. Tap into those outside communities,” Cross told the ‘Prince.’
Christopher Butcher ’25, who also serves as outreach co-chair of the Princeton BSU, wrote in a message to the ‘Prince’ that the event marked a significant stepping stone in terms of the types of events hosted on Princeton’s campus and in terms of centering Black students.
“Princeton is known as the ‘southernmost’ Ivy, with a reputation of being an inhospitable space for Black students, so I hope Black students internalize that we can create these safe/fun spaces for each other if our university does not,” Butcher wrote.
Tyler McCormick, the current president of the UPenn BSL chapter, echoed a similar sentiment in an interview with the ‘Prince,’ stressing what he felt was significant about the two groups coming 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 across the Ivy League,” he noted.
The University of Pennsylvania’s BSL chapter initially proposed the idea for the event to the Princeton BSU — a simple moment of outreach that set plans for the crossover event in motion.
McCormick explained that the idea for a collaboration came to life after a similar event his group held with Harvard’s Black Students Association (BSA) in the fall of 2021.
“I was introduced to Princeton BSU member Kimberly Cross by a mutual friend while she was visiting Penn’s campus last spring. Kim let me know we could do a collaborative weekend with Princeton Black Student Union, and the idea took off from there. We worked hard over the summer into the fall semester and made the event happen,” he said.
But despite the excitement, McCormick shared that there were some challenges in the planning process.
“We had to present to funding boards for many weeks to get the necessary funding for this event, and setting up logistics for things like shuttles between campus and the hotel was difficult,” he said.
Despite the difficulties, it seems that the event proved successful: the UPenn BSL community is already planning additional stops in their Ivy League tour. Among the dozens of participants on the overnight trip to Princeton from UPenn were students from a range of graduating classes.
Aria Osborne, a first-year at UPenn, described it as a “wonderful weekend.”
“Just seeing Black students freely and jubilantly have fun created a warm, inviting atmosphere,” Osborne emphasized.
Asked what he hopes that participants took away from the collaborative event, McCormick shared that he hopes “students left with a sense of community.”
“I know at times it can be uncomfortable being a Black student at a PWI,” he said. “I hope students left with a sense of community.”
Princeton’s BSU and UPenn’s BSL jointly hosted a tailgate prior to the football game, as well as a game night and afterparty following the game.
Bailey Glenetske is an Assistant News Editor who often covers breaking news, eating clubs, and University affairs.
Justus Wilhoit is a news contributor for the ‘Prince.’
Please direct all corrections to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.