Service learning trips are not a rare occurrence for MSU students, but the opportunity to connect with and soak up knowledge from the MSU Black Alumni, while doing so, doesn’t happen too often. From March 21-24, Rising Black Men (RBM), an organization dedicated to the empowerment of Black male students at MSU, traveled to Atlanta, GA to engage in networking, professional development and community service. While there, this group of Spartans toured Morehouse College, The World of Coca-Cola museum and the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical Park, among other historical landmarks in the city of Atlanta. While the 16 young men of Rising Black Men were able to immerse themselves into the culture of Georgia’s capital, the strengthening of relations between MSU Black Alumni and Rising Black Men is one of the most favorable outcomes of the trip.
“The Spartan-Atlanta trip was a life changing experience. I never imagined the endless possibilities outside of Michigan as far as my career path,” said Khalil Davis, sophomore and member of Rising Black Men. “During the trip I was able to make numerous of connections with Atlanta’s MSU Black Alumni chapter and gained knowledge on how to better myself in my undergraduate studies. Not to mention the connections that were made at Georgia Institute of Technology, where I received amazing news that I could possibly go there for their dual graduate programs as well as other research opportunities. I am truly grateful for the experience.”
Sightseeing wasn’t the only activity that kept these Spartans busy throughout their stay in Atlanta. The members of Rising Black Men were able to collaborate with over 60 other students from various Collegiate 100 chapters to help volunteer at an Atlanta food bank, with founder of RBM, Tim Herd kicking it off with an energized speech. These young men also had the opportunity to interact with members of the Atlanta chapter of the MSU Black Alumni at a networking event.
“It was such a pleasure to host the members of Rising Black Men in Atlanta during their visit. These young epitomize the true perseverance and the will of Michigan State Spartans. I applaud the organization’s founder, Spartan Tim Herd, for having the foresight to create such a wonderful safe space for African American men,” said Felicia Wasson, Director of Community & Stakeholder Relations at The Coca-Cola Company. “It is my hope that their visit to Atlanta broadens their horizons to show them the breadth and scope of opportunity all over the world. As they travel to further their educational and career pursuits I trust that they know that wherever they go, there will be a Spartan there to meet them.”
The MSU Black Alumni, having donated significant financial contributions to this trip via individual members and as a national organization, have now started a fund within their organization to assist more student groups in the future with similar goals. Out of the 16 members of Rising Black Men that participated in Spartans to Atlanta, 75 percent of them are now interested in graduate studies after interacting in several professional development opportunities, including speaking to Dr. Martin Luther King’s daughter, Bernice King over the phone and a "Dress for Success" event. Partnerships between student organizations and the MSU Black Alumni are expected to continue in the future.