Get to know your MEN: Male Empowerment Network

Members+of+MEN+put+in+flooring+for+a+house+they+helped+build+for+Habitat+for+Humanity+on+Sept.+28%2C+2019.%C2%A0

Members of MEN put in flooring for a house they helped build for Habitat for Humanity on Sept. 28, 2019. 

MEN, or Male Empowerment Network, is one of the most well known black organizations on Kent’s campus. 

Spearheaded by NJ Akbar, assistant dean in the University College, in 2010, MEN has made a name for themselves through service and dedication to their mission. 

Junior marketing major and marketing co-chair for MEN Anthony Magee explained why the organization was needed on Kent’s Campus. 

“It’s an initiative that serves our men of color on campus,” Magee said. “They support them professionally, personally, socially and academically through empowerment, networking and community service opportunities.” 

The members of MEN use the acronym, APPS, as an easy way to remember the four core trademarks of the organization. To help others academically, personally, professionally and socially. 

Khalil Looney, a senior Pan-African studies major and president of MEN, has been a member for four years and feels that MEN has made a significant impact on his life. 

“I feel like I’ve grown with the organization,” Looney said. “Everything that I am now really is a product of me being in MEN.”

Even though the semester has seemingly just begun, MEN have been jam packed with events. 

On Saturday Sept. 28, the members helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity. A few days later, on Oct. 1, they hosted a Hispanic event in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month called En Honor la Cultura, with their sister organization, Sister Circle. Their latest event was a flag football fundraiser for charity on Oct. 5. 

Shamar Lucky, a junior business management major and marketing co-chair for MEN, explained the demographics the organization tries to reach. 

“We’re not only here for African American and black students,” he said. “We also represent the Latinx community, Hispanic, Native American, bi-racial and honestly, anybody who needs us.” 

Lucky also described his sense of belonging within the group. 

“The SMC (Student Multicultural Center) does a good job creating a sense of belonging for everyone but for our men, it gives us an opportunity to break down our walls,” he said. “There’s things that I’ve shared in this space that I’ve never talked about again. These are spaces that we can publicly cry. We can publicly share anything and it stays within these walls. There’s no judgement. There’s no backlash. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

The MEN e-board takes a retreat every summer to get connected with one another before the school year begins. 

Ziad Roufael, a senior biology major and vice president of MEN, shared his experience of a two day retreat they held in the Women’s Center during the Summer of 2018. 

“Those two days with those guys, I felt like I had known them for ten years,” he said. “All the connections I made throughout the e-board because of those retreats was very refreshing.” 

The MEN organization holds meetings and events open to the public every Tuesday. To stay connected with upcoming MEN news, follow them on Instagram and Twitter @menofkentstate.

Contact Kennedi Combs at [email protected]