Donning a bold name and an even bolder mission, the Men of Integrity are hoping to bring a sense of empowerment and ethics to the UCF campus.
As the group behind last week's candlelight vigil hosted in honor of those who have suffered police brutality, the Men of Integrity are working to rise up on campus as a voice for minority groups.
With the Ferguson, Missouri, incidents still fresh in the minds of Americans, the group hopes its mission will spread even further through campus. Focusing on empowering minorities, encouraging the pursuit of graduation and giving back to the community, the organization is hoping its efforts will take flight through its many events during the year.
Put simply, the group hopes to "create a legacy on campus," said Tydearian Cocroft, historian of the organization.
With an average of 30 members on its roster, all are welcome to join the organization, even women, said Cocroft. The group has been on the UCF campus since 2003 and has had a variety of different cultures, ethnicities and genders as part of its organization.
"It is not just an all-male organization. We actually encourage women to join too," Cocroft said. "It is vital that we all understand the standards that society puts on us as men and women and effective ways to combat them."
Members come together on a bi-weekly basis to join forces in efforts to overcome social boundaries and give back to the community through service and good deeds. The goal, said membership chair LeJuan Houston, is to help students help students. The organization meets every other Monday at 5 p.m. in Student Union room 223.
"Men of Integrity is a community service-based organization which focuses on … instilling the ideals of leadership, proactivity and independence amongst themselves," Houston, a senior sociology major, said. "...Even though UCF is a large campus, my purpose here is to leave a mark."
Houston said he joined the organization so he can make a difference in the male community and be a motivator to those young men who strive to graduate and succeed in life.
"I know that the graduation rate for males is low so my purpose is to generate integrity among young men, which is why I joined M.o.I.," Houston said.
Emphasizing the group's open invitation for all students, member Brianna Davis, a senior human communication major, is the first to point out that just because an organization is geared toward the male community, doesn't mean females are not allowed.
"I get the funniest looks or remarks when I tell people I'm in Men of Integrity because a lot of people think it's only for men, when we have two more ladies on our e-board and ladies who come to our meetings as well," she said.
Davis is the publicist and handles social media and promotions and connects with the public and other organizations.
There are a lot of associations that are geared toward women but very few toward men, which is why Davis said she decided to join M.o.I and take the organization to another level.
"My organization doesn't make me feel like an outsider and they are so welcoming. I feel like it is such an important organization because of who its target market is," Davis said. "We cater toward young minority males, which is a hard audience to reach, so I have so many ideas on how to expand outreach."
Although the organization has been recently highlighted because of its efforts to support Michael Brown, the man shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, its mission goes well beyond any one particular issue. The group hosts yearly barbeques and regularly sponsors events that benefit local charities. The group's philanthropy of choice is supporting Boys Town Central Florida.
"This year in Men of Integrity, we are trying to incorporate a more diverse group and really try to get men and women to understand where they stand in society and how not to let anyone tell us what our role in society is," Cocroft said.
Upcoming events hosted by Men of Integrity
Guy Code, Sept.17
Taking place in the College of Sciences 101 at 7 p.m., Guy Code is a forum where members will discuss male issues with a choice panel.
MOI Week, Time TBD
A week full of events for students to get to know what M.o.I is about and what it can do for students.
The Penis Monologues, Nov.3
In the Pegasus Ballroom at 7 p.m., the Penis Monologues aims to discuss controversial issues that males deal with in the forms of the arts.