On Sunday September 18, 2016, the Black Student Christian Forum (BSCF) held its first ever cookout. Conveniently located directly in front of the student center, the cookout attracted a number of students looking for good food and a much-needed break from their studies. Esther Battle (senior, sociology), current president of BSCF, described the idea of a cookout being, “a classic in the black community.”
“Every Labor Day, Fourth of July, or Graduation weekend, black families gather to celebrate in the form of the cookout,” Battle said.
This “classic” tradition dates back to the mid-1900s. According to The Root, a news, opinion and culture site for African-American influencers, the cookout originates from slavery “when African-Americans were often forced to cook barbeque for social gatherings.” The source continued, explaining, “After emancipation, they used those learned culinary skills to their advantage, setting up barbeque joints all around the South.”
In order to achieve the essence of this eminently black tradition, the BSCF held their cookout outside with two large barbeque grills. Equipped with Big Franks, homemade veggie patties, music and more, the BSCF cookout brought the “warmth of a backyard to the Student center,” according to Morgan Winkfield (sophomore, behavioral science) who also commended BSCF for “doing a great job of recreating the feeling and atmosphere associated with a cookout.”
Several other students acknowledged the success of the cookout, including Kaydra Bailey (senior, biochemistry), who said, “When the poster said food, games, and fun, they weren’t kidding.”
But fun and food weren’t the only items on the agenda for this cookout, Battle stated.
“BSCF is elevating beyond Impact (a Friday evening vespers hosted by BSCF in the Burman chapel), and we really want to make that clear right away, with a big social gathering,” Battle said.
These sentiments were echoed through Gabrielle Johnson (sophomore, nursing) who exclaimed, “This cookout out started of the year with a bang. Despite the lack of real meat, it was nothing short of a traditional cookout and it was nice to socialize over a good meal.”
Dana Swann (senior, animal science) agreed and said she would like to see more cookouts sponsored by BSCF.
Swann said, “The cookout something that should become a regular thing for BSCF.”