‘Be the Change’ Program at Muskingum University Helps Minority Students

Muskingum University is the proud host of the ‘Be the Change’ program, created by Valerie Smith and HerBrina Shepherd. The program was created to aid in the success of minority students. ‘Be the Change’ offers students assistance with things such as note-taking, studying, as well tutoring. The program came about when Smith and Shepherd noticed how many students of color and minority were doing badly, so they decided to create a special program to assist them and help in the growth of their education and lives.

The program operates out of the school. Students are rewarded with incentives for attending all of their classes and going to the student success center for at least 2 hours a week. Incentives include a proud letter to home, as well as little reward gift, such as a student hoodie, a t-shirt, etc. Because it is only the first year, students were hand chosen for the program this time around. However, if the program is successful with these few students, they plan to open the program up to more.

Students are never penalized for not achieving the standard set for the program; however somebody will sit down with them and talk about just what it is that is causing the struggle for them. Many times, it has nothing to do with the class work at all. Sometimes it has to do with dissatisfaction in their chosen major or problems in their home or social life, causing a lack in drive to continue. ‘Be the Change’ is a lot like a support group. They don’t call themselves academic counselors, however the students involved in the program can always come in and talk about any issues they may be having either in class or in their home life.

So many things can have a negative effect on school life, however with a program like ‘Be the Change’ and people like Valerie Smith and HerBrina Shepherd, who care enough to develop something of aid specific to the struggling people, success can be brought about by simply by a little hard work, effort, and an encouraging word.