Mentors Meet Protégés at BSU Male Initiative Gathering
By Anthea Dennis
Bowie State University’s Male Initiative gathered in the Special Collections Room in the Thurgood Marshall Library for a mentor and protégé motivational meeting on March 7 presided by co-chairmen Robert Batten and Allen Mosley. The room was filled with attentive young men who all turned out to see just what Male Initiative was about.
Bowie State University President Mickey L. Burnim introduced the Male Initiative’s program and its purpose. He started the Male Initiative four years ago to reach out to the males on campus, who include students, faculty, and staff members. He made it clear that he wants them to come together because he believes they will be more successful as a group than on their own.
The goals and objectives of Male Initiative were created to empower young men and to mold them into future leaders. It goals include strengthening the secondary-to-higher education pipeline to enable more male students to attend college. Another goal is to increase male enrollment and graduation rates at Bowie State University. Burnim bemoaned the low 37 percent enrollment rate for male students and the even lower graduation rate of 30 percent for male students.
The objectives include promoting involvement and inclusion in leadership activities and retaining male students through continued mentoring and support programs.
Keynote speaker Rodney Scaife, vice president of human resources for Allegis Group, a human capital and workforce management company near Baltimore, gave his motivational message to all in attendance on the importance of mentoring programs. He believes it is important to develop deep, meaningful relationships between the mentors and their protégés, and these relationships should be maintained throughout the program and even after it is done.
“Success is not a destination,” Scaife said. “It’s a journey.” What better way to take the journey to success, than with someone who’s experienced it already?
Scaife wanted the audience to leave the room knowing that they are all future leaders. He encouraged those future leaders to practice integrity, be mindful of whom they surround themselves with, and to take full advantage of the Male Initiative program. Involvement in the program provides students with a support system that is based on group and one-to-one interactive relationships. The program consists of three major components: outreach, guidance, and mentorship.
Leslie Hall, Bowie State alumnus, shared his past experience with the program. Burnim was his mentor. He helped Hall with his matriculation through college, always keeping him focused on his school work. “He guided my steps,” said Hall. Now, he is studying for his master’s degree in social work at Howard University. His involvement with Male Initiative helped get him there. Others involved in the program received leadership awards, including Miguel Enongene and Jamaad Gould for outstanding leadership and service roles on and off Bowie State’s campus.
The Male Initiative was created to change young boys into men, organizers said. Burnim’s vision is to focus on the advancement of male students on campus through building academic, personal and social skills. It is also available to give access to resources such as the Career Development Center that assists students with choosing a major, internships, graduate school, and jobs after school. Other resources include book scholarships.
To register for the program you can apply online to become a mentor or protégé by going to www.bowiestate.edu and clicking the “Male Initiative” link under The President’s Message tab.