Male Initiative Leadership and Excellence (M.I.L.E.) is an organization at Stevenson University that focuses on empowering young males to become leaders by developing their character and introducing them to resources that can help them reach their full potential.
M.I.L.E. has 51 members, including its seven executive board members, who participate in community service, leadership training, and events both on and off campus. M.I.L.E has collaborated with organizations including Second Chance, Best Buddies, Relay for Life, Greater Baltimore Medical Center, Greater Baltimore Urban League, and the Maryland Food Bank along with other groups and clubs.
Bryson Barksdale, the current vice president and president-elect of the club for next semester, joined M.I.L.E. because he felt that the club could set him up to be the best that he could be.
“I learned how to take initiative and go for what I want in life,” he said, adding that he gained self-confidence and came out of his shell because of M.I.L.E.
Every Monday is “M.I.L.E. Monday” at Stevenson University, and all members are required to wear business professional attire to promote a career-oriented, positive male image on campus. The organization also hosts a table session outside of Rockland Marketplace to try to engage students on campus in different topics that are relevant to college students, and to recruit potential members for the upcoming semester.
M.I.L.E. allowed Michael Alli, secretary and chair of communication, to join a brotherhood of diverse people in a wide range of ethnicities and backgrounds, and it gave him the opportunity that he was looking for to make new friends.
Members of this organization have built healthy relationships with each other, but they also have shared relationships, which they create by introducing fellow members to connections others may not have formerly had access to.
“It opens up doors on and off campus for our males, doors that may have not been open without M.I.L.E. Networking is the biggest point,” said Barksdale.
Another member, Darrin Hawkins, said, “One thing I learned was to take pride in what I do because people will hold you accountable for it.” Hawkins said that he joined M.I.L.E. for the brotherhood, but it became more than that as he remained in the organization.
Membership is open to any current undergraduate male student in good standing with the university who maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher. M.I.L.E. requires its members to be involved as much as possible within the organization. Members must also have a resume approved by the Office of Career Services, to allow them to explore new opportunities and become well-rounded in their professional development.