Ashley Barton, EdD, is the new director of the Black Student Resource Center (BSRC). She reflects on what it means to be at USD and how her role can help shape the USD experience for Black students on campus.
Q: The Black Student Resource Center is a new addition to USD. What do you see as the Center’s main goals?
The Black Student Resource Center is a place dedicated to supporting the educational experiences of the Black student community at USD. Our goal here is to create a student-centered inclusive environment that enriches the university experience for Black students. We seek to be a place the builds and supports the Black community socially, academically and personally.
Q: What is the greatest need that you’re seeing at the center that you’re able to assist with?
The greatest need I see the BSRC fulfilling is providing a place that individuals in the Black student community can call home. Here we provide many of the traditional services students can find on campus but we focus on the needs and interest of Black students and give them a personal touch that allows them to connect, to be more interested, and to be engaged in their college experience.
Q: What brought you to USD? Are you originally from this area?
The BSRC and this position brought me to USD! I’m originally from Los Angeles, where I attended college. When I learned about this position and the opportunity to work with the Black community here I jumped at the chance! I am very happy to be here.
Q: What can the rest of the USD campus community do to assist you and the center in achieving its mission?
The campus community can support the BSRC by consciously programming and planning events to include the needs of Black students. At times, some Black students feel a lack of inclusiveness because of the limited cultural relevancy in campus-wide events. Creating opportunities for students to feel more apart of the campus can only enhance the work of the BSRC.
Q: If you had one piece of advice for USD students in general, what would it be?
One piece of advice I would give USD students is to use this time to better themselves and prepare for life after college. One day college will end and USD has so many resources to prepare you for life after graduation. Take advantage of everything USD has to offer now!
Q: Is there a person or an event that guides you in your work?
If I could think of one person it would be my mother. She has been such a strong example of hard work and perseverance that it pushes and motivates me to do the same.
An event that has guided my work is my own college experience. When recalling my undergrad education I see myself in many of the challenges and obstacles students face. It drives me to make the experiences of others better than what I had and to create conditions that will make students college experiences better.
– Melissa Wagoner