Nevada State College in Henderson is launching a chapter of a nationwide program that provides mentoring and support for Black students – just the second college west of the Mississippi River to do so.
The University of California, Berkeley, is the only other western college to host a chapter of Collegiate 100, which focuses on both mentorship and networking. Collegiate 100, which has about 65 chapters nationwide, is an offshoot of 100 Back Men of America, a civic organization aimed at expanding educational and economic opportunities for African-Americans.
“It’s really kind of a new frontier to be out West,” said Derric Carter, a lecturer of interdisciplinary studies and NSC’s chapter adviser.
Nevada State College’s chapter is new this semester and is currently accepting applications from students in good academic standing. Organizers held a virtual kick-off in October and plan to hold a pinning ceremony for participating students in the spring.
So far about four students have signed up and are receiving support remotely, Carter said.
“From my perspective, my hope is that students receive the on-campus support that they need to have a more holistic experience on campus” and be enriched academically, he said.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic is over or at least under control, Nevada State’s chapter plans to hold on-campus activities. And Carter hopes chapter members will get the opportunity to network with other students across the country. In the meantime, a virtual national Collegiate 100 conference is planned for Dec. 10-12.
Members also will help the local 100 Black Men chapter “with its programmatic initiatives that support the development of social, emotional, educational, and physical needs of youth who have few or no positive role models in the communities in which they live,” 100 Black Men Las Vegas founder Larry Mosley said in a news release.
Getting plugged in
Nevada State College President Bart Patterson has urged Black students to become active on campus and stressed the need to improve retention overall, Carter said.
“We are extremely proud to continue our mission in supporting diverse and deserving populations throughout our community and on our campus,” Patterson said in the news release. “It is our intention to grow our partnerships with other organizations like 100 Black Men who have a focus on reshaping family trees and providing pathways to success for underrepresented communities.”
Nevada State College, which opened in 2002, has about 7,100 students — about 10 percent of whom are Black.
Sophomore Leland Rucker, 18, said he joined the Collegiate 100 chapter because he wants to get more involved on campus.
“Last year in my freshman year, I wasn’t as involved,” he said, adding that he was getting a feel for college. Now, he said, he’s more comfortable plugging into the campus community.
But Rucker, who’s studying business administration, added that he wanted to be part of the inaugural group of students in the Collegiate 100 chapter “to be able to have some sort of legacy and impact on the college.”
Financial, networking support
Collegiate 100 members also will have the opportunity to earn college scholarships funded by community partners, Carter said, adding that easing the financial burden of attending college is “really an important factor in all of this.”
The chapter will receive $22,000 in scholarship funds from 100 Black Men Las Vegas. The college will provide matching amounts and award the money to recipients selected by 100 Black Men.
Rucker said the fact that many members of 100 Black Men’s local chapter are self-driven entrepreneurs also was an inducement to join.
“That’s what I look to be when I graduate from college,” he said. “I really don’t see myself working for someone else.”