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group of students posing with president

Tiffin Tuesdays featuring Ta’Laya Jones

Ta’Laya Jones, you have been selected for this week’s #TiffinTuesdays for your work with BUS in preparation for the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations.

Tell us about BUS – and what it means to you?
BUS is Black United Students, but it is an all-inclusive organization. This organization is not just for black students; it is for everyone on campus. Our purpose is to educate the campus on not only “black/African-American” issues, but to talk about and educate the campus on issues that concern us today. And give students a place to voice their opinion and be heard. To me, BUS means a place where you can truly be yourself and have no one judge you for how you believe a situation is or affects you. Also, BUS means education outside of the classroom, lessons that you’ve already paid for. BUS means building bonds and relationships with other people with same or differing views than you, that you may not have ever had the opportunity to have a class with. But because you came to TU, now you have a new friend to journey through life with. The last thing that I will say BUS means is connections. Connections for personal and professional affairs. Like I always say, “You never know who people know,” and these connections can help push you in the right direction concerning a job or personal relationship.

Why do you feel that BUS is an important group to be a part of?
I feel BUS is an important group to be a part of because it gives you and others a chance to voice opinions and hear other opinions, along with getting educated in the process. I feel that there is no need for people to walk around, uneducated about things that currently affect them, especially when there is a place for them to go and get educated.

What does BUS mean to Tiffin University?
To Tiffin University, BUS means diversity, which is something that our current TU president is currently focused on for the school. It embodies what we stand for as an institution of being different, but not separate, which is also what Dr. King stood for.

Why is BUS such a large part of the planning for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration?
BUS plays such a big role in planning the MLK Jr. Day, because it is a holiday that the organization is very passionate about and, again, I feel as though the organization is working towards things that Dr. King believed in, like being different but inclusive of those around us.

What changes have been made from last year’s celebration to this year?
The biggest change is the committee. This year it is more inclusive of the staff that works on campus along with the BUS e-board. This was a great decision because the staff can also have way more pull when it comes to having access to things that the students may not have access to. Also we were able to get our point of view of what MLK Jr. Day means to us, and they want to help make this celebration even better than before.

Tell us about the celebration?
The keynote speaker is Nate Washington, who happens to be an alumni of Tiffin University. The celebration will include breakout sessions in the Main Classroom Building, where we will be able to be a little bit more intimate with the students and educate them in smaller groups, hopefully allowing them to have a great time with these activities. Up to eight hours of co-curricular credit will be offered to students who come and participate. For those students who present, they will be able to get up to 10 hours of co-curricular. So take advantage, my graduating seniors. These activities will take place from 8:30-noon.
A private luncheon will also take place that day from noon to 1:30 with the keynote speaker. The first 50 students to register online can attend. The last thing planned for that day will be a day of service starting at 3 p.m. until it is finished – and all of these activities are opened to the public.

Other than planning, what is your role in the celebration?
Other than planning this day of celebration, I will also be singing with Gospel choir.

Who should go to the celebration?
Everyone should come to the celebration. To be more specific, the community of Tiffin, Tiffin University, Heidelberg University, even Terra Tech. I feel like the more, the merrier. I just want everyone to come out and reflect on what we can do to help keep moving Dr. King’s dream forward.

Tell us about the keynote speaker – and what will he be speaking about?
Nate Washington is a young man from Toledo, Ohio, who I happen to have the pleasure of knowing growing up. He attended Tiffin University and before the completion of his degree, he was picked up by the Pittsburg Steelers as a free agent and went on to win the Super Bowl with them twice. He is now married with two beautiful daughters and has successfully completed his business degree with Tiffin University.

What does Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. mean to you?
To me, Dr. King represents a man of integrity, a man of wisdom, a man of perseverance. He embodies what we all should aspire to be, which is someone who is not judgmental, but one who is open-minded and ready to fight the good fight of doing right by people. Not only so good will come back to you, but so we can help this country move into the right direction.

If you could sit down for lunch with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., what are two questions you would ask him?
The first question I would ask Dr. King is “What do you think of the direction the country is going in, concerning your dream of equality?” I would also ask Dr. King “What do you think of this younger generation and how they go about trying to solve the many different forms of injustice in the world?”