Gentlemen of Color Association

By JQ Dever

April 28, 2013

Some say true gentlemen are like needles in a hay stack, they are just hard to find. Well, not anymore. A new organization called the Gentlemen of Color Association is finally at Missouri Western. Rodney Roberts, President of the Gentlemen of Color Association, actually came up with this idea through his mentorship with Isaiah Collier, director of Greek Life at Missouri Western. Isaiah kind of pointed him in this direction by telling him Western really needed leadership initiative, especially for males on campus. Roberts began building this organization the first week of school and started spreading the word around campus. “I started this so black men could get more involved on campus, to just all around better themselves. You see so many guys acting out on campus. We're not saying 'Don't have fun,' but we want to help them understand that you are now in a collegiate environment so you kind of need to behave as such,” Roberts said. This is the first semester for the GCA. Roberts said they are focused on building up the members; They began by giving men on campus the information for upcoming financial seminars and professionalism seminars. The group meets on Thursdays at 8:30. “We have five freshman members and our main goal was to prep them into becoming leaders, not only for themselves but for the campus,” Roberts said. "Next semester we are going to actually bring those five freshmen to different schools to mentor but we first want to build them up into becoming a mentor, teach them what they need to know to be good leaders.” In order to be a part of the Gentlemen of Color Association, you have to attend two consecutive meetings and be voted in by the rest of the members. The GCA also has a strict dress code, as members have to dress professionally. When they attend the meetings, members are encouraged to bring paper and a pen and be prepared to take down any information given to them. They do a lot of hands on work and are very supportive with each other. They make sure they are there for each other, ready to chip in and help. Dillon Williams also helps Rodney and he's involved in with a lot of campus activities already. "I think being involved with different things on campus helps the young men in the GCA just have a look at what it looks like to help and be an asset on campus," Williams said. Roberts said that the meetings are going extremely well, and that he’s seeing a lot of progress through our men. The GCA has five active members, Donovan Gilliam, Jared Potter, Creshawn Mcgridder, Cameron Michaels and Jordan Fitzgerald. “They are just teaching us how to become gentlemen and how to take care of business. This has helped me a lot as a man. It helped me the most with being in order, just being able to be organized with things better,” Gilliam said. Gilliam has performed many concerts in the past and he actually just performed at the WAC Fashion Show. Mcgridder has landed his first job in St. Joseph and will be staying over the summer to work. Michaels actually won Mr. Black Student Union. Gilliam, Potter and Michaels actually started the Lacrosse Club, the first one Western has had in over 10 years. "We really pushed them to actually follow through with what they want to do, not just say they want to do something, but to actually go and do it," Roberts said. "We are just proud of our young men."