When I entered Prairie View A&M University in 1997 as a freshman to pursue a degree in electrical engineering, I had a desire to do more than just go to class every day but I wanted see how I could leave a greater mark on the campus and community.
This is not to say that class was not a priority because engineering is challenging and time consuming. But I wanted to have the total college experience. You can too!
When I recently spoke to the Black Student Union at St. Thomas University, I shared with them some ways to become a better leader (servant) on the yard.
Join Organizations: Whether it is an organization in your major, student government or a society, become apart of something. But don't just join because of your peers, but see how that organization can add value to you and vice versa. Research and start attending their meetings. I was apart of nearly ten different ones!
Start Your Own Organization: With the assistance of now Final Call Assistant Editor Ashahed Muhammad, I launched a PVAMU Chapter for the Nation of Islam Student Association (NOISA). At the time Bro. Ashahed was the National NOISA Coordinator and gave me all of the materials I needed to get the chapter officially recognized by the campus activities department. I then recruited many people. In addition I joined forces with others to launch an investing club, a Black Male empowerment society, leadership clubs, and mentoring programs for local schools in Prairie View, Texas.
Get a Serious Sponsor: I noticed many organizations had sponsors who were not intricately involved in their activities and only using the group as a resume builder. I always chose revolutionary sponsors who would not only show up at our events but would push the concepts amongst their students and colleagues. They would also give out extra credit to their students for attending. Plus you can use your sponsor as leverage to open up certain doors plus secure financial backers. Be wise.
Host Events on Campus: A minimum of three times a month my circle on campus was hosting some type of event to raise the consciousness of the students. We hosted leadership forums, male/female relationships panels, health seminars and rallies for social justice issues. We invited special guest speakers from across the country. The most important part was collecting emails to follow up!
Write for the School Paper: A good way to reach the masses on campus is to become a contributor to the newspaper. You can write articles addressing certain issues affecting the student population. For example my first ever article was for the PV Panther News entitled "Will The Real Leaders Stand Up". I was addressing a controversial student government election. That article drew a lot of attention to the NOISA and increased membership plus I became a "dorm-room" name.
In Part 2 of this series I will delve deeper into every one of these tips plus add more.
I was apart of a strong circle of up and coming leaders (servants) on campus that caused present Prairie View Mayor Frank Jackson to say to me once that, "You all were a very special group. I have not seen a group that has done so much since."