The Collegiate 100 program is an auxiliary of the national organization known as 100 Black Men of America. To understand the impacts and missions of this program, it’s vital to explore those of the parent organization, especially in the broader context of social inequality and unequal access to resources. Below, we’ll examine the stated purpose of that group and how it pertains to campus life.
History and Action
One of the results of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s was the creation of action groups devoted to securing equal rights for citizens who had traditionally been denied access to upward mobility. As with many grassroots movements, it began as a local initiative. In 1963, as powers were clashing on the national stage, a small group of African American men gathered in a community in New York. Their informal purpose was to explore ways in which they could enrich that community and promote success in future generations.
A common thread with all locally-born programs that directly seek to increase equality in communities of color is a focus on connection and enrichment of group well-being through group action. It emphasizes ties of family and shared value systems. In fact, the motto of the group is “What they see, they will be.” To date, the association has gathered more than 10,000 members across America and assists more than 125,000 African American youth per year to reach for their dreams.
Mentoring and Guidance
The Collegiate 100 program serves as a way to help young African American men to put forth their best efforts in attaining better living conditions and socially equal standing. Simultaneously, it offers guidance focused on a strong ethos of community giving and action. As an outreach apparatus, this program is supported on individual college campuses by a local chapter of the 100 Black Men of America.
While the chapters of the national organization act as gatekeepers for sponsorship and mentorship on university campuses, they stress that they differ from fraternities. They neither advocate nor permit the usual pledging activities associated with these other chapter and branch association and strive to set themselves apart. Their goals are mentoring of community-positive behaviors and enrichment of the community through individual successes.
Via the program, African American students are encouraged to engage in outreach and service activities. The sponsoring chapter organizes these and tailors them primarily to the local communities surrounding the college campus. The national programmatic pillars of value serve to uphold and enrich these activities. Mentoring is a primary initiative. However, Health and Wellness, Leadership Development, Education and Economic Empowerment are vital to organizational ethos.
Overall, the college programs seek to act as channels for young men. They provide resources, guide individuals to explore their highest potential, advocate self-care, and positive self-image, promote strong leadership in subsequent generations, and offer tools of educational and economic freedom by which young men may give back to their supportive communities. In the past forty years, the social fabric of African American values and well-being have been disrupted through systematic targeting of young males.
The parent organization offers powerful support through partnerships with businesses, philanthropic initiatives, and even government bodies, each dedicated to ensuring more exceptional quality of life for all. While many organizations focus their energies on promoting the well-being of communities of color, the Collegiate 100 represents a concerted interest in developing and fostering the leadership potential of African American men.