The Hampton Man Initiative

Brandi Howliet | Staff Writer

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Joe King

The Hampton Man Initiative kicked off March 27 in the Student Center Ballroom. This event consisted of a closed conversation about how the Hampton man can be uplifted and embraced throughout campus.

The event was moderated by Calvin Harris and Andrew Morrison. On the panel sat Mr. Pirate, Mike Adams; Paul Harris; Coach Robert Prunty; Assistant Dean Aleczander Woodfield and Matthew White. The topics discussed were centered on the idea of what it means to be a Hampton man today.

The original idea was put into place 10 years ago by Dean Woodson Hopewell, but the initiative never took place. More recently, however, it was decided that it was time to revitalize Dean Howell’s brainchild as students had a growing need for male support and mentorship on campus.

“In the fall semester, we will continue with the conversation, and we wish to form a group of Hampton men that’ll come together to really embrace what it means to be a Hampton man throughout looks, mannerisms, respect and professionalism,” Harris said.

There are other exclusively male clubs and organizations on campus such as Men’s Caucus and fraternities, but this initiative is different because its membership is open to all students. There is no criteria to prevent any male student from joining, and there are no specific requirements for candidates to abide by. There will be no interview process or exclusion of any sort. Potential candidates are just asked to come with open minds, along with a desire to build leadership and networking skills.

Many young men come to college and get lost, especially the ones who come from single-parent households. Therefore, the initiative is focusing on developing networking and financial literacy skills, placing a heavy emphasis on academics and scholarship, as well as simply having everyday conversations with one another. The biggest goal is just to promote the Hampton man, to come together to talk and promote equality within this group.

“Navigating through college without mentorship or guidance can be difficult for a man, especially, a black man,” said Austin Sams, a second-year political science major from Jacksonville. “Therefore implementing this on type of program on campus is needed and will be very beneficial to male students of Hampton.”

A more comprehensive program will begin next fall to guide the men who will carry the legacy of the Hampton man for the rest of their lives. The men of Hampton often want greater support, but do not know where to find it on campus. The program is meant to be different than the other men-centric organizations that are already established here at Hampton.

“Men aren’t celebrated or connected a lot on this campus,” Harris said. “Other aspects will also be incorporated such as athletics, game nights, dinner at restaurants, where you can kick back and mature among other men.”

Male students who want to improve not only themselves but the continuously evolving concept of what it means to be a Hampton man are encouraged to join.

To those who are interested, be on the lookout. The program will launch next semester, Fall 2019.

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