By Britney Pollard
The men of Bowie State came together for a BSU-Male Initiative Gathering in the Fine and Performing Arts Center on May 2. There were a variety of faces and styles on the Main Stage, but the mood and atmosphere was felt through every person at the meeting. These young men were ready to be enlightened by the words of their mentors.
The meeting started off with a brief address from university president Dr. Mickey L. Burnim. His voice commanded attention from the entire audience, with a resounding message that tailored for the end of the school year.
Next came the announcement of winners for the essay contest. Students were encouraged to write an essay explaining what mentoring meant to them for a chance to win up to $300 in book vouchers from the Bowie State University bookstore and a chance to be published in a university academic journal. The entries were so phenomenal, organizers said, that instead of having three winners, the judges awarded prizes to four young men, including a second-semester freshman.
The members of the BSU-Male Initiative were also privileged to get hear words of wisdom from Bowie State alum and keynote speaker, Traviss Green. Green, who currently works as the chief technology transition officer for Lockheed Martin, briefly discussed his journey into manhood, assuring the men that mistakes will happen in life, yet it’s all about what they learn from them, and what they do to keep moving forward, is what truly matters. Green's message appeared to strike a chord with the men as well as the women in the audience as they gave him a standing ovation.
Following Green's speech, the ever-so-spirited Allen Mosley of the university's academic advisement center, delivered a “sermon” of sorts to these men. He emphasized the importance of balance, especially when it comes to academics and athletics. There were quite a few student athletes present at the gathering.
Mosley also took the opportunity to play a game of “truth or myth,” debunking a many false statements about black men, Bowie State and it male student graduation rates. Mosley finished his remarks by screening an inspirational video on YouTube.
The event was filled with powerful emotion, passionate men and progressive ideas. It was truly inspiring seeing such strong men leading the gathering on stage and those listening actively in the audience, participants said. Events like the BSU-Male Initiative gatherings are just the dose of medicine men on Bowie’s campus need to hear in order to make their mark in this world, organizers said.