Black Intelligent Gentlemen is a recognized student organization that is gradually becoming a household name on campus. The president of the RSO, Mustapha Sanneh, stated that BIG’s main agenda focuses on black males, but that there are no restrictions whatsoever about anyone who would like to be part of the organization.
“BIG tries to increase the retention rate of African American males on campus and ensure that they graduate in a timely fashion,” said Sanneh, a senior pursuing a major in Sport Management and a minor in Marketing. He explained that the name provides a strong essence to the organization but is not intended to instill distress in anyone. “The name may seem intimidating but the organization is actually very welcoming, respectful to every individual that chooses to join, and all inclusive.”
Black Intelligent Gentlemen was initially established about half a decade ago, with Matt Williamson as its main founder. Sanneh said, “One of the original members of BIG was actually of Asian origin and we also currently have two ladies on the executive board, showing that the group is without a doubt diverse and open to all,” adding that last year the group was truly rekindled before he took over as president. He now delegates various tasks to his executive team while also supervising all of the organization’s activities, seeing that it runs smoothly and efficiently.
Sanneh’s main aspiration as president of the Black Intelligent Gentlemen organization is to spread recognition of its name. He seeks to make it a welcoming beacon for anyone seeking additional information about the university or who just requires support as they navigate their college experience. The volunteer work done by the organization over the past two years has been one of its major achievements, from collecting donations at local downtown markets to hosting policing events on campus to educate and inform students. The BIG also works hand in hand with Echo Food Shelf.
“Amongst the major benefits of joining the BIG brotherhood would be a crucial one, as the numbers of African American males on campus are still low,” Sanneh said. “Brotherhood makes people connect, form lifelong friendships and learn more about the University from someone else’s perspective.”
Like most recognized student organizations, however, the BIG faces the issue of member consistency. The BIG tables on a regular basis and consistently posts on social media platforms to get as many people as it can to attend their weekly meetings, which are usually held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Centennial Student Union’s room 238. Sanneh strongly commended the organization’s recruitment officer for her valiant efforts and for having truly shown passion for her job.
“This semester we hosted a top MCs countdown event, which had free food, and the faces that were present during that event resurfaced in later meetings,” Sanneh said. “This tells us that hosting lively events that encompass the interests of students is a good way to increase numbers.”
Sanneh said that the presidential role can be a bit overwhelming at times, which is why he sometimes prefers to allocate responsibilities to other people in the organization and supervise from afar.
BIG hopes to continue increasing its numbers and to generate buzz both on and off campus. “My goal is to ensure that the name ‘Black Intelligent Men’ is recognized by the majority of students at MNSU, Mankato and known for what it provides to students, which is all around support during the college span of mainly African American male students,” Sanneh said.
The Black Intelligent Gentlemen supplies its members with the tools to thrive in institutions of higher learning, while not only radiating an ultramodern atmosphere but also providing a brilliant avenue to network.