Caribean Students Organization spotlight

Caribbean graduate brings experience to lead CSO and show diversity on campus

When Brian Blair came to Midwestern State University to pursue a mechanical engineering degree in 2014, he was coming a long way from his home in Antigua. While MSU gave him a good experience, nothing could quite match home. Thankfully, he had the Caribbean Students Organization to fill in for that.

“I was very involved with the CSO and it really helped me through my transition coming to the United States,” Blair said. “It was kind of a home away from home; a place where there are other people of the same background.”

Once he received his undergraduate degree, Blair took off for a few years. Now, he is back on campus and a first-year graduate student working toward his master’s in business administration. When revisiting the CSO, he wanted to pay his good experience forward.

“I figured I could bring some of my knowledge from being (at MSU) as an undergrad and be useful to the organization,” Blair said.

And he did just that, becoming president of CSO. Under his leadership, the organization hosted its 24th Caribfest a week-long festival with many events that celebrate the diverse Caribbean culture and share it with the campus. The events regularly have a strong turnout, especially the parade.

“As one of the biggest student organizations on campus, I think that we serve a role of showing some diversity on campus,” Blair said. “It’s really important to show this diversity for our members and the students.”

Caribfest used a portion of their proceeds to donate to charity. CSO selected the Arc of Wichita County, an organization that works to empower those with disabilities, as this year’s recipient.

Beyond all his experience with CSO, Blair is a proud MSU student who loves sports. While he enjoys playing some, he especially loves watching basketball, cricket, soccer, and football, including MSU’s teams. He has also had “nothing but fun” on MSU’s campus.

“I’ve been given opportunities to do things that [without MSU] I never would have done; volunteered for places that I never really would have thought to volunteer,” Blair said. “With the campus activities, there’s always something to do; somewhere to go. (MSU is) a place where you can feel at home, even if you’re not from Texas or Wichita Falls. MSU offers that one-stop-shop for a good experience.”

While Caribfest may have passed, CSO is not done this semester. Blair wants CSO to host a Thanksgiving dinner for Caribbean students since many of them don’t get to go home for the holiday. He is also working to set up volunteer events for cleaning up local highways and working at the local food bank and humane  society.

“We really appreciate that MSU allows us to do so many things on campus,” Blair said. “We always wanna show our appreciation to MSU for making us feel at home, even when we’re away from home.”

 

Mechanical engineering senior Brian Blair plays in the CSO Cricket competition, April 7, 2019. (Photo courtesy/Brian Blair)
Mechanical engineering senior Brian Blair plays in the CSO Cricket competition, April 7, 2019. (Photo courtesy/Brian Blair)