“We’re members of the Black Student Movement, and on campus, we host events and programs that welcome you all to become part of our family and find your home at UNC,” Epps said in the video.
BSM senior advisor Joia Freeman said that because she attended a predominantly white high school, her transition to Carolina was easier than that of other Black students, who attended more diverse high schools.
“If people are used to a more diverse environment, or just being surrounded by people who look like them, it can be a very jarring and intimidating experience," Freeman said. "It’s especially important for our admitted Black students to know that they can come here, that they can be successful and that they can find a place."
Freeman said the percentage of Black students at Carolina has decreased during her time here as a student and that by working with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, BSM has made efforts to address the decline.
In the fall of 2010, 8.5 percent of enrolled students indicated that they were Black or African-American, compared to 7.8 percent in the fall of 2017. During this same time period, the percentage of white and Hispanic students also decreased. The percentage of white students dropped from 66.6 to 61.2 percent, and the percentage of Hispanic students went from 8.3 to 7.5 percent.
The percentage of students who checked Other on their applications, including American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, other Pacific Islanders and those who do not know their race, decreased from 10.1 percent in the fall of 2010 to 4.6 percent in the fall of 2017.
In that same period, the percentage of students who indicated that they were Asian, or of two or more races, increased. The percentage of Asian students increased from 4.8 to 13 percent, and the percentage of students who indicated that they were of two or more races increased from 1.7 to 5.8 percent.
In addition to BSM’s welcome video, The Carolina Hispanic Association and The Carolina Indian Circle produced similar video messages for potential students.
“We just wanted to communicate that there are Black students on campus, and we have a community that is successful," Robinson said. "Black Student Movement will be a space for them to explore their passions and really feel at home. We wanted to be the first ones to welcome them to campus."