The Salisbury University student organization Men of Distinction (MOD) brought the campus and local community together while hosting its “Back to School Barbershop” event in Perdue Hall.
Local barbers came to Salisbury’s campus, offering free haircuts for students. The event also had refreshments, chess and checkers, music, and they even streamed a basketball game.
MOD Secretary Tinsaye Addis said the barbershop event was designed to bring the African American Barbershop culture to Salisbury. He said it is important for the campus and community to unite.
“Especially being a PWI (Predominantly White Institution), it’s important for the Black community to come together, look out for each other and remind us of who we are, why are we here, and what we are here to do,” Addis said.
Local barber Robbie J. saw the Men of Distinction event as a way to connect with the campus while showcasing his skills. His favorite thing about being a barber is the conversation, A.K.A barbershop talk, “We talk about girls, business, culture, just about anything,” he said.
Salisbury student Tomi Oyewole was excited to attend the event and get his hair cut because of the good past experiences he’s had with the local barbers. “I’m friends with almost all the barbers in here, and I know they all do good work,” Oyewole said. “I’m really here to support honestly, and I get a free haircut, so I cannot complain.”
Although the event was targeted towards men, Men of Distinction’s meetings are open to any student and they have a women’s council.
MOD’s activities engage any student who wants to build their professional repertoire, including interactive activities and workshops that help prepare any college student for professional life. Members gain experience in interview readiness, networking and business ethics, skills that most students don’t cultivate until after they get a degree.
MOD is also sure to foster connections with other clubs on campus. Whether they are creating vision boards with Women Inspiring Never-Ending Kinnections (WINK) or creating make up looks with Kinks and Curls for Boys and Girls (KCBG), the club is sure to encourage collaboration.
This event was unique because very rarely do we see the campus and community actively interact with one another. There was an undeniable sense of community in the room. Typical community interactions are usually limited tlarge-scale events like “I Love Salisbury” or “Big Event”.
Despite the prominence of both events, the momentum only lasts for a day. There is a lack of consistent community involvement. Service should not be constrained to one day, it should be integrated into the daily lives of those who really want to make a difference.
There are students who graduate without participating in a single extracurricular or learn about the place they have spent a significant chunk of their life at.
According to the Journal of College Student Development, students who are more frequently engaged in academic and social activities earn higher grades and higher levels of satisfaction with their college experience.
Community involvement teaches students how to think critically think for themselves, work well with others and gain a sense of self that’s not solely dependent on their academics.
The clubs, and members who choose to get out their comfort zone, gain crucial life skills while challenging their norms and crafting their personality.
There are students who see community involvement as a distraction from their studies but being involved helps them apply what they’re reading about in their textbooks. Some things are only understood with experience and it is much more about what people do, than what people read.
By NADIA WILLIAMS
Featured photo: Local barber Kristofar Williams cuts he hair Salisbury University’s Nils Tchougoue’s during the Men of Distinction’s Back to School Barbershop event (Nadia Williams image).