Faculty at Envision Summit advise students to ‘ask for help’

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Motivational speaker Dave Swanson talks about his college life to about 50 male students during the Envision Summit hosted by SACMEN Oct. 5 in the nursing complex. Swanson said he became a motivational speaker to touch and change people lives. Swanson wrote “The Dot On The Left,” which describes how he planned to follow his dreams and how he achieved them. Every student who signed up to attend the summit received a free copy. Brianna Rodrigue

A mission statement can help students focus on goals, a counselor said.

By Rogelio Escamilla


Students should reach out for academic help and advice, three professors told students in workshops at the Envision Summit Oct. 5 sponsored by Men Empowerment Network.

Some 53 students attended the event, which provided 15 workshop sessions after a speech by author Dave Swanson. The summit focused on providing support to male students of color, but anybody was able to attend. No female students attended.

David Acosta, computer information systems professor, said the Hispanic culture has a tendency to not reach out.

“Always ask for help,” Acosta said. “You will never be alone. We’re in this together. You’ll get to some people who will tell you, ‘I can’t help you.’ Well, that doesn’t mean that all of us can’t help you. Just ask somebody else. Eventually you’ll get to the right person.”

Acosta said students should build a connection with professors and treat classes like a job.

He explained ways students can properly communicate with professors.

“Emailing or texting,” Acosta said. “That is also a convenient way to talk to your professors. Open with ‘dear professor’ and say your name, date and time of your class, and say exactly what you need. Never send a message when you are angry.”

Jose Barajas, pre-professional biology freshman, said he attended the workshop to get more involved in the community.

“I was fond of their common goal,” Barajas said. “I want to be dedicated and committed to my education and show people that we all have a voice. We all have tribulations; you have to choose to become better than what you started off as. That’s what really stood out to me.”

Counselor David Rodriguez said writing down a mission statement is an important step for students to be successful in college.

“I would have encouraged myself to look further into the future,” Rodriguez said. “Set some long-term goals. The whole idea with a mission statement is to get in touch with what is important to you, what you value and what your purpose is. When you write it down, it can help you make decisions.”

During his presentation, Rodriguez had students create their own mission statements after writing out their values and goals.

Rodriguez also said asking for help is important, and students should take advantage of resources.

“When the going gets tough, and it does get tough, you can look back at your mission statement and remember ‘this is why I’m doing this,’” Rodriguez said. “We’ve been through this, especially with first-generation college students. My dad couldn’t understand how I could be so exhausted just from studying. It’s a different kind of tired. All of us here can relate to that and offer advice.”

Nathan Castillo, pre-nursing biology freshman, said he was excited to join SACMEN because it could benefit him academically. He added the sessions he went to provided a lot of information.

“(Mortuary science professor Darrell Woody’s) ideas stuck out to me the most,” Castillo said. “He brought up a lot of good information about discrimination in general. You should value ethnicity. We stand out with different personalities, perspectives and beliefs, but we are still all the same in a way.”

Woody said in his presentation that men of color are just as qualified and intelligent as people who are not of color. He also discussed internal and external biases, micro-aggressions and how a person of color’s self-perception is influenced by cultural socialization.

“Just because we are perceived in a certain way doesn’t mean we need to fulfill that stereotype,” Woody said. “If anything, we need to prove them wrong. We can do anything just as good, if not better, than people who are not of color.”

Woody also said the term minority was originally created to cause separation, and that differences should be embraced.

“Growing up in a small town, I had to realize that no one is really different from anyone else,” Woody said. “There’s a lot of other cultures that we need to get educated about. The more we educate each other, and the more conversations we can have, the more productive we will be.”


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