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New Society to Guide Young Men

Published: Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Updated: Sunday, August 10, 2008 00:08

At a time in Howard's history where the enrollment rate of male students is at a low, the Society of Collegiate Black Men steps in to assume the responsibility of restoring the status of the traditional Howard man.

According to Dr. Barbara W. Williams, dean for Special Student Services, the traditional Howard man is not only dedicated to excellence in academics and service but also strives to uphold a professional demeanor and image as well as help other African-American males succeed.

The Society of Collegiate Black Men started as a vision of Williams, then developed into a plan of action that was e-mailed to a network of Howard administrative officials, faculty and staff.

"Everyone from the top of the administration down responded positively to the idea of this organization that seeks to provide these men with the right information, motivation and opportunity to carry them through college," Williams said.

The men who will eventually become members of this organization feel that the Society of Collegiate Black Men serves a good cause.

Freshman psychology major Arlandus Hood is working with others interested in the Society of Collegiate Black Men to promote the new organization.

"We want to better ourselves as Black men. We don't want to be a statistic. We want to show that we are icons...to show that we are elite," Hood said.

The main goal of the Society of Black Collegiate Men is to assemble a group of college-aged men who are dedicated to academic excellence and community service and who will essentially create a cycle of service through mentoring and society outreach, according to Rasheem Rooke, director of Student Services.

"There will be fraternal components, not in the contemporary sense, but in the activities they perform and service they do, they will form a bond," Rooke said.

On Feb. 28, 2005, the Society of Collegiate Black Men hopes to induct its first members. The members of the Society of Collegiate Black Men's mission will be to serve as mentors to younger Black males in the community who will in turn perpetuate leadership at Howard and beyond.

At the ceremony of induction, the Society of Collegiate Black Men will unveil the national icons of the organization. Among these men is Howard University's President, H. Patrick Swygert.

"Other men before today left the legacy of the 'Howard Man' for today's men to follow," Williams said. The aim of the Society of Collegiate Black Men is to leave a similar legacy for the future.

Some young males, such as freshman biology major Diego Humphrey, are very supportive of the ideas endorsed by the Society of Collegiate Black Men. Humphrey is an advocate for the traditional image and attitude of the Howard male, as opposed to the new school "college thug."

"I think people should be focused on getting good grades instead of trying to impress others and being fake thugs."

In a roundtable discussion at lunch time in the café, freshman education major,

Aaron Boose also agreed with the premise behind the new organization as he testified about his own plight to become the best he can despite adversity.

"My brother's locked up, my dad has been locked up, and most of the Black men

I've known were either drug dealers or doing some illegal stuff. I was always encouraged to do better because they knew I was intelligent," Boose said.

"Being given the opportunity to help other Black males, to let them know that you can be prosperous without being on the block...I'm down for that."

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