Next week, it’s time for the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s homecoming! Best time of the year for me every year since 2006. Shoot, it’s so great that we got married around the time of G’s homecoming.
Today, I had lunch with two members of the UNCG family and we discussed giving to the school. Many of my friends who don’t give don’t because they are paying their loans. And yes, you’re paying money back but are you paying opportunities forward?
Were it not for UNCG, I would not be where I am today. I wouldn’t have met my best friends. Secondly, I wouldn’t have been made a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by way of the Playboi Pi Zeta chapter. And, thirdly, I wouldn’t have received the education I did.
Now, many would say that education is the primary reason for going to a university and I agree. But it’s not the most important thing I took from my university. From it, I took relationships, a spirit to give back, and a better understanding of both business and African-American studies (along with many other subject areas). UNCG made me a more well-rounded and more prepared adult.
That’s why I give back to my institution. Why do you give back to yours? And, if you don’t, you should give something. Every dollar counts.
Make giving back a priority.
The young men above both began college one year after the other and both fell under my tutelage by happen stance. Mr. Reko Daye (top), also from Durham, was assigned to the hall I was the resident advisor over during the 2008-09 academic year. I still remember the day he moved in and began his college journey. A charismatic young man who needed some polishing and guidance to reach his potential. So I worked with him.
Then you have Mr. Devon T. Smith from Philadelphia by way of Fayetteville. He came the following academic year and was introduced to me because the business school assigned his class to interview an upperclassman in his field of study. Being that I was visible on campus through my fraternity and in the Bryan School of Business as the president of the Black Business Students Assoc., it was recommended that Devon interview me. I didn’t know him but after meeting him once, I knew he was ambitious and driven, he just needed a crash course in diplomacy. Who better to teach him than me? So I did.
Without my recommendation, both of these men decide to join my fraternity. Both decided to mentor other young people throughout the course of their college careers. Both took on the role of chapter president. Both were well-liked campus leaders who had grown in leaps and bounds over the years. Both graduated with jobs and are focused on starting their careers. Both have gone from mentees to true brothers and friends. And both are going to continue to do great things to make the world a better place. I’m excited for them and know that, when it’s all said and done, they’ll be right beside me at the top.
Last night I had four new brothers come into my fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, Fraternity, Incorporated, by way of my chapter, Pi Zeta. Out of those four, I had a pretty solid relationship with the two seniors on the line even before they became Alphas. Both had been trying to become members of the fraternity for their entire collegiate careers. Both had watched others get selected for the opportunity multiple times. Many people in their same situation have stopped trying. These gentlemen, however, continued to work on themselves. They tailored themselves to get the position they wanted. And, when all was said and done, they reached their goal. This isn’t about Alpha or Greekdom or pledging. It’s about life and not giving up on your dreams when it seems like you’ve failed. Sometimes failure is just a step on the road to victory.
I am proud to help publicize for to post a second time on this #WellDressedWednesday, especially since it’s to help promote the Dress for Success fashion show sponsored by UNCG, the Black Business Students Association, Dillard’s, and the Pi Zeta chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. I have membership ties to three out of the four aforementioned entities and shop at the fourth so it is great to see all of them working together. If you are in North Carolina and are looking for something fun to do tomorrow evening, please head out and support these young businessmen and women in their efforts to educate others on proper attire. Come dressed to impress. You never know what connections you might make.
For more information, contact the UNCG Box Office at 336-334-4889.
Tonight (Friday) on my way to the Bobcats vs. Bulls game, I saw a sign outside the NASCAR Hall of Fame building that said “If winning was easy, losers would do it.” That statement speaks volumes. It doesn’t take much effort to give up. But continuing to strive for greatness is a true test. Being able to wake up daily and do what you have to do to be the best is both a character trait and a blessing. Don’t spit in the face of the Creator by not working to your potential. That is what losers do.
When being made into a brother of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. by way if the Playboi Pi Zeta chapter, I learned a poem titled “The Test of a Man.” Though I could post it in its entirety from memory, I will not. I will only post a few lines that will serve as a conclusion to this post, though they are the beginning of the poem. Lines that separate winners from losers. Lines that I recite to myself when I want to give less than my all. Lines that let me know I am passing the test. Take them with you. Internalize them. Let them change you.
The test of a man is the fight that he makes
The grit that he daily shows
The way that he stands upon his feet
And takes life’s numerous bumps and blows
A coward can smile when there’s naught to fear
And nothing his progress bars
But it takes a man to stand and cheer
While the other fellow stars
Don’t give up.