Press "Enter" to skip to content

Circle of Brotherhood: An empowerment-focused student organization

Members of Circle of Brotherhood.
Photo provided by Circle of Brotherhood.

Navigating the ebbs and flows of college life can be difficult, especially at an institution where you are part of the minority, but now there is a group for men of color to come together. 

Circle of Brotherhood (COB) was formed in 2013 by Bradley’s former Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion Norris Chase. Nearly 10 years later, it has officially become a student organization at Bradley. 

The group provides a safe space for men of color to voice their feelings, get help with classes and build relationships.

“Growing up, I lived in Colorado. Most of the schools I went to were primarily white,” sophomore marketing major Jacob Davis said. “In high school, I was the only black guy. I got into the Circle of Brotherhood freshman year, which impacted me greatly. I had never had a group of black men going to the same place I was going. It‘s been a safe space for me.” 

After its inception in 2013, the group’s activity slowed down. With the help of a few students and Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion Kelvin Herrera-Hassan, COB has recently grown to more than 50 active members. 

“Coming here and seeing the diversity on campus just energized me,” Herrera-Hassan said. “Within my first few weeks, I learned about the Circle of Brotherhood. It had died out. The last leader who worked with it left, and the Circle of Brotherhood left with him. We worked together to get the group back. Ever since then, we’ve been flowing.” 

To become an official organization, COB had to go through an application process and delegate positions to students. Junior psychology major Ricky Godwin was named president. 

Members of Circle of Brotherhood huddle up.
Photo provided by Circle of Brotherhood.

“Being made official represents our consistency and hard work,” Godwin said. “There’s been meetings where it’s only been me and Kelvin. We’ve been talking about the future. We’ve been talking about how we’re going to get to this point. For us to be here is surreal. I am grateful that we got here.”

Now that the organization is official, leaders are turning their sights to bigger goals.

“One of our biggest goals is to [increase] the retention rate,” sophomore marketing major Markus Tucker said. “We want to be able to keep as many black men on campus as possible. That’s the main goal that we have. College isn’t easy, especially being a black man at college. I want to show that we’re making a difference.”

“While we were unofficial, this group increased retention of black men by 21%,” Herrera-Hassan added. “Being official, I want that number to double. I want our students to create a campus where they feel good. Where any student coming in, regardless of race or gender, feels good.”

COB meets at 4:30 p.m. every Wednesday in the Garrett Center and is open for anyone to learn, be heard and uplift one another.  

Copyright © 2023, The Scout, Bradley University. All rights reserved.
The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.