The four or five years that most students spend at Central Michigan University earning their degrees, seems minuscule compared to many years of schooling prior to this. Often described as “the best years of your life”, college can prove to have its ups and downs. Recognized as a bit of a “party school”, CMU and its hold the title proudly. As home to CMU’s campus, Mt. Pleasant has unintentionally turned into a home away from home for most of its students. After years of lectures, football games, exams and keggers, this weekend Central will graduate another class of students. To many, coming to the realization that entering the “real world” is steadily creeping more near, can commonly be a frightening thing. Whether students feel adequately prepared for life after graduation, or not, now is the time for graduating seniors to walk across the stage, receive their diploma and close a very large chapter in their lives.
In the fall of 2007 Dr. Traci Guinn, Director of Minority Student Services, approached, then Graduate Assistant, Sean Novak, with the idea of forming an organization. Shortly after this discussion with Dr. Guinn, Novak became the adviser of the group known as the Men About Change. Collectively, they are a group of young men, both undergraduate and graduate students at Central Michigan University. But individually, the group members come from a variety of different social classes, races, ethnicities, and familial backgrounds. “This program provides young men at Central Michigan University with the opportunity to enhance their leadership skills as well as obtain professional and academic guidance in order to help them obtain their undergraduate degrees while preparing them to assist other young men to do the same.” (http://diversity.cmich.edu/) The program works by organizing freshmen and sophomore students (mentees) and matching them with an older male mentor. This mentor is commonly a graduate student, but can sometimes be an upperclassmen, working on their undergraduate degree. Working with the motto “building men to build men” the group Men About Change aims to “foster reciprocity to younger generations.” The members are required to participate in and also organize various services projects on CMU’s campus and throughout the community of Mt. Pleasant. Over past years, The Men About Change have volunteered with organizations such as the Isabella County Soup Kitchen and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Isabella County. By putting on these different service projects, the Men About Change are able to spread the word about the issues they are really passionate about. In honor of Black History Month, the group presented a panel discussion on “The Image of a Black Male.” During this panel, there was a discussion on common stereotypes common among African-American males. These stereotypes were analyzed and commented on by members of the panel. Among most audiences, racism is often a controversial subject, that isn’t always talked about. With the Men About Change, racism is a serious topic that deserves to be discussed and not swept aside. Men About Change also serves to provide assistance for young males in their transition into college life and then further, with life after graduation. By sharing their unique experiences with each other, the members of Men About Change are able shed light on situations and topics that might not be brought up in conversation otherwise. It is through this sharing that the members of Men About Change are able to form a male bond that can prove to be not only unbreakable, but of the utmost importance. By striving to “cultivate compassionate, progressive, and proactive mentality among young men at CMU”, the brothers of Men About Change are an organization unlike any other.