Last Tuesday, members of the Black Student Union and the Black Male Leadership Initiative groups visited Sam Houston High School to speak to students and answer questions they had about life after graduation.
Sam Houston High School is located on the east side of San Antonio. The school was holding an assembly for seniors and invited the BSU and BMLI to share advice about college.
â€œWe shared our coming-to-college experience, things we wish we wouldâ€™ve known prior to coming to college,â€ said junior Aaron Harwell, president of BMLI. â€œWe discussed difficulties we faced and how we overcame them.â€
The high school students were interested to hear about life at Trinity and asked questions about the social and academic atmosphere.
â€œOne guy wanted to know about the parties and another asked about the girls,â€ said junior Christopher Williams, president of BSU. â€œAnother student asked about financial aid. We also answered a lot of questions about Trinityâ€™s diversity.â€
The topic of diversity was particularly relevant because Sam Houston high school students are predominately African American. The members of BSU and BMLI were able to give first-hand advice based on their experience as black college students.
â€œThe group they were speaking to was very much like them in terms of ethnicity and coming from schools that werenâ€™t particularly diverse,â€ said John Orange, assistant director of institutional research at Trinity.
â€œWe talked about how to interact with different types of people you will encounter in college. We gave advice about the importance of being open and learning from everyone, despite racial, socio-economic or other differences,â€ Williams said.
The BSU and BMLI also gave advice about college life in general.
â€œWe talked about time management and how to do things sparingly. For example, you can party now and then but donâ€™t do it all the time,â€ Williams said. â€œAnother piece of advice was to not be scared to ask for help. We encouraged them to seek help from professors and peer tutors and also just to get involved.â€
The trip to Sam Houston High School was one of many community service opportunities the BSU and BMLI have taken part in this year.
â€œIâ€™m really proud of them because one of the organizationsâ€™ goals is to not only have a presence on Trinityâ€™s campus, but also in the San Antonio community,â€ said Soi Smith, coordinator for diversity and intercultural relations.
â€œTheyâ€™ve gained a lot of leadership skills. Theyâ€™ve really stepped up,â€ Orange said.
The BSU and BMLI representatives both emphasized the importance of investing in the next wave of college students. Volunteering and community service are a key aspect of both organizations
â€œNo matter what organization youâ€™re in, you should give back. You never know what kind of impact you will have on someone,â€ Williams said.
â€œStudents should definitely go volunteer somewhere,â€ said Harwell. â€œItâ€™s not only a gift to someone youâ€™re helping; itâ€™s a gift to you.â€