Throughout the month of February, the Darden community and Black Business Student Association (BBSA) created space for intentional connections and conversations centering around the theme, “Celebrating Black Joy in our Community.”

Megan Scott, Class of 2023

In a podcast earlier this year, BBSA president Megan Scott (Class of 2023) described the student-led organization, “We’re a group of over 125 students who are Black-identifying and people who are interested in Black culture here on campus. At Darden, you learn about different economies and different parts of the world, and how business is impacting the way people live in those economies. We feel like it’s important to bring that sort of study internally, as well as with the United States. Within the Black Business Student Association, this year, we’re doing a whole series around the economics of being Black in America. Outside of the cultural and social items, we also host a number of professional events. Along with our corporate sponsors, we hold workplace skills workshops and corporate panels with senior leadership. If you care about diversity in in the School or in the world, we want to support you and all of your dreams, both personally and professionally.”

Check out Scott’s podcast episode from earlier this year at the bottom of this post. She shares more about her background in consulting services sales and working at a startup that was purchased by PayPal, her connection to the enslaved laborers who built and worked at UVA, how a gap in business acumen led to an MBA and what is means to be president of BBSA, one of Darden’s most active student-led organizations.

Celebrating Black Joy

A few highlights from the month included:

Instagram Takeovers

BBSA First Year Liaison Ibukun Aiyemo (Class of 2024), brought viewers along on her day at Darden. The day kicked off with an introduction to the Full-Time MBA’s five sections, followed by Black First Coffee (and a group photo op!), Aiyemo caught up with section D International Rep and classmate Aanshi Jain (Class of 2024) and highlighted what #blackjoy means to First Year students Fehin Ibiloye, Sharon Okeke, Mobola Ode and Sonia Oghoghorie.

Taylor Curtis (Class of 2024) continued the takeover in the afternoon where he showed off section A’s cheer and lion-passing traditions, gave a shout-out to the Darden Consortium cohort, and answered questions about favorite places to eat in Charlottesville, favorite class taken so far (Business Ethics with “Darden legend” Professor Ed Freeman), what it’s like to be on a Learning Team and what he likes most about Darden: “The community. The great friends I have now will definitely be lifelong friends.”

On Instagram: @Darden.BBSA

Elevating Black Joy

Student portraits were displayed around common spaces at Darden, highlighting BBSA’s theme for Black Business Experience Month by uplifting and elevating Black Joy.

Faculty-Hosted Community Events

The entire Darden community was invited to join Professors Greg Fairchild and Toni Irving for conversations exploring the racial wealth gap and the historical constraints that have created generations of inequality for Black Americans.

Exploring the Roots of the Racial Wealth Gap: Models to Address Economic Equality

Professor Gregory Fairchild, Dean and CEO of UVA Northern Virginia hosted a discussion exploring intervention models designed to address economic inequality in America.

Exploring the Roots of the Racial Wealth Gap: Real Estate and Land Ownership

Professor Toni Irving led a discussion designed to explore the interconnectedness of racial inequality, home ownership, and wealth creation for Black Americans.

Club Partnerships

BBSA partnered with other student-led organizations throughout the month for a variety of social and educational events, creating an even wider programmatic reach.

  • A hugely successful karaoke night was hosted in partnership with Asia Business Club at Darden (ABCD). ABCD is one of the largest affinity organizations, dedicated to increasing diversity and inclusion by promoting Asia culture in the Darden community.
  • BBSA partnered with the Education Club to host “Critical Race Theory, Equity and the American Education System.” Dr. Stanley Trent from UVA’s School of Education & Human Development facilitated the conversation about educational equity.
  • Pride at Darden and BBSA hosted a Thursday evening Cold Call event, featuring two professional Black Queer performers from D.C. and Richmond. The event educated the community on Drag, a gender-bending art form.
  • BBSA partnered with the Wine and Cuisine Club to host a Virtual Wine Tasting of the McBride Sisters, the largest Black-owned winery in the United States.

In addition to these events, BBSA members also volunteered at a Black College Fair for Monticello High School students interested in learning about opportunities post-undergrad to further their career.