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Club of the Month Spotlight: Black Business Student Association

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The UCLA Anderson Black Business Students Association (BBSA) aims to provide black and African-American students with support via workshops, social events and professional networking opportunities to prepare them for careers as future business leaders and to foster community within Anderson.

About Jarenn: Prior to Anderson, Jarenn Stewart (‘21) lived in NYC, serving as a personal trainer and Division I Track and Field coach while running two sports and fitness startups that he co-founded. Jarenn is a first year student at Anderson and aspires to drive change as a marketing professional at the intersection of sports/fitness, tech, and culture. His passion for sports and fitness led him to run track at the University of Maryland while pursuing a B.S. in Kinesiology. He then went on to pursue an M.S. in Exercise Physiology from Long Island University.

At Anderson, Jarenn currently serves as Section Director of Diversity & Inclusion, sits on the board of a non-profit in Downtown LA through the Anderson Board Fellows program, and participates in the Leadership@Anderson, Entrepreneurship Leadership Development, and Riordan mentorship programs. At the club level, Jarenn serves as Director of Brand for the Marketing Association and is the incoming Co-President of the BBSA. Keep reading to learn about his experiences with BBSA, Black History Month, and being a minority student at Anderson!

What has been your favorite Black History Month event and why?

My favorite Black History Month event (outside of the amazing soul food that was catered) was the Allyship panel. With Allyship being such a buzz word, I expected a lot of students to show up but the level of engagement and inquiry from everyone really resonated with me. I particularly enjoyed being able to break into small groups, having more intimate conversations and discussing various scenarios where allyship was shown or tested. 

How has your transition from the east coast been?

I have no regrets about moving to LA from NYC. Initially, I was concerned about moving so far away from family and friends and essentially starting a new life but that all changed the second I stepped foot on campus. The Anderson and broader UCLA community is amazing and I’ve found LA to be such a welcoming city overall since there are so many transplants. Asides from the people, I love the LA lifestyle. As a personal trainer in NYC for the past 6 years before coming to business school, I appreciate how healthy the lifestyle is. Now, I’m a self-proclaimed #foodie and hiking enthusiast.

How do you feel the Anderson community has supported minorities?

As a minority on campus, I feel nothing but support. The administration has been proactive in increasing the diversity of our program and has been receptive to feedback from us as students. Having the honor of being on the planning committee of our annual Embracing Diversity Conference, I witnessed firsthand how much the Anderson community (current students, alumni, faculty, etc) cares about diversity and inclusion through the abundant outflow of volunteer support.

As one of the smaller clubs on campus, the Black Business Student Association doesn’t necessarily benefit from a ton of funding from membership dues but it was important to us to truly celebrate and showcase Black History Month. We brought the concern up to the administration and they funded 100% of the budget, allowing us to put on 7 different events for the Anderson community. 

What are you looking forward to doing next year?

Next year, I look forward to stepping into a Co-President role in BBSA to further the legacy of the club. I’m also excited to continue my work in our Board Fellows program, in which I sit on the board of a non-profit in Downtown LA. Lastly, I’m excited to partner with and help small, minority-owned businesses grow through a new initiative that I plan to launch next year.

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