Campus Life Pavilion Opens, Maintains BSA House Legacy

Emory’s Campus Life Pavilion opened earlier this month, replacing the former Black Student Alliance (BSA) house at 716 Peavine Creek, according to Senior Vice President and Dean of Campus Life Ajay Nair. The pavilion offers “flexible programming space … to students and others in the community,” said Nair. Program Manager of Emory University Planning, Design and Construction Charles Rossignol designed the new space, according to a presentation to the University last semester.

The pavilion, located near Eagle Row and the Visual Arts Building, will provide a venue where events can be held on the west side of Emory’s Atlanta campus.

The pavilion supports several types of events and holds a maximum of 300 people for concerts, 200 people for lectures and 120 people for dinners. Emory-affiliated groups and campus departments can reserve the venue online through the 25Live scheduling system.

“Emory Campus Life is excited about the new pavilion and the flexible programming space it offers to students and others in our community,” Nair said. “The pavilion can accommodate guest speakers, musical entertainment, outdoor festivals, meals and more.”

Dobbs University Center (DUC) and Office of Student Involvement, Leadership and Transitions staff members are currently familiarizing student organization presidents with the pavilion to help facilitate the new addition to the Emory community.

Some groups, such as Residential Life and Housing and Orientation Leaders, have already used the space. The University Center Board and the Technology Store of Emory Barnes and Noble also sponsored a silent disco at the pavilion this past weekend.

For alumni like Dorothy Bota (11C), campus life liaison for the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni, this venue holds significant meaning. Bota and other BSA alumni created the Caucus June 2015 with the goal of continuing the BSA legacy by integrating it into the appearance of the Campus Life Pavilion, which have features such as a beam from the structure of the BSA house that was knocked down.

A fraternity associated with Emory’s former dental school originally occupied the 716 Peavine Creek house. BSA occupied the house between 1986, 16 years after BSA’s establishment, and 2011.

The BSA legacy will be represented in the pavilion through the inclusion of 13 stars in the pavilion, which will represent 13 African American students who integrated into Emory University in 1962 and 1963, said Bota.

She added that the pavilion will also include a “steel beam and many wooden elements in the pavilion ceiling [that] were part of the structure of the Black Student Alliance house.”

Last year, BSA relocated to 22 Eagle Row, but Bota said she feels the organization’s members still feel a strong connection to their former house. This past April, BSA hosted an event titled “Honoring the Legacy of the BSA House,” which memorialized the organization’s previous house. The event featured stories from alumni who had lived in the BSA house from 1986 to 2011.

BSA plans to host events at the new pavilion, one of which will occur during Emory’s Homecoming Week in late September. Bota believed it would be an interesting return to campus for the event as there is a possibility of “mixed emotions” from BSA alumni.

“The BSA house was not just another housing option for Emory students,” Bota said. “This house was the center of the black community at Emory: a place for bonding, freshman orientation, Essence, potlucks, movie nights and sometimes just an escape.”

Nair said a memorial will be hosted February 2017 to honor the 13 African American students during Black History Month.

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