20 Years of M.A.L.E.S. at Eastern

MALES WIDE SHOTWILLIMANTIC, Conn. — On any given afternoon, you’re likely to find a handful of students who stand out when walking across campus. Pressed shirts, shined shoes and ties, these young men lead by example, embodying student professionalism as members of a student organization called M.A.L.E.S. — Men Achieving Leadership, Excellence, and Success. The club celebrated 20 years as a student organization at Eastern this November.

Nearly 1,000 men have been active members of the organization since it was founded in 1997, making it one of the most successful and active organizations in Eastern history. The Eastern-established student organization works to foster inclusive professional and personal development opportunities, thereby enhancing civic engagement, academic and social experience for young men on campus. M.A.L.E.S. focuses on opportunities for mentorship, brotherhood, service learning, social capital and professional growth while integrating the goals and vision of alumni, advisors and current members who are dedicated to help facilitate the enrichment of the organizations culture.

Left to right:  Cliff Marrett ’03, David E. Jones ’04, Joseph Hawley ’05, Milton Jackson ’05, Ashon “Chewy” Avent ’08, Derrick Curry ‘14

Left to right: Cliff Marrett ’03, David E. Jones ’04, Joseph Hawley ’05, Milton Jackson ’05, Ashon “Chewy” Avent ’08, Derrick Curry ‘14

The organization maintains rigorous goals for community involvement and service while also holding signature events designed to establish a sense of brotherhood among members. “Leadership and community involvement and service is the cornerstone of M.A.L.E.S.,” said former member, president and current faculty advisor Clifford Marrett. “We strive to create a sense of brotherhood among the group through events such as our signature retreat at Camp Hazen, which is a team building trip where members engage in a ropes course, climbing and challenge each other as individuals and as a group.”

Many members have reflected positively on the impact of these team building experiences. “My favorite event has always been our Camp Hazen retreat because that is a time where we get close as brothers through different experiences and activities,” said student member Freddy Cruz. “Joining M.A.L.E.S. has allowed me to get to where I am today. Through joining, leading committees, being on the executive board and being an active member, I have gained many lifetime experiences to remember.”

M.A.L.E.S. has established and taken part in a number of community service projects, scholarship establishments, and fund raisers for disaster relief and cancer. Besides attending regular meetings and events, prospective members must also participate in a community service event. Their commitment to serving the Willimantic area also solidifies a sense of teamwork among the men involved, a characteristic considered to be one of the reasons that M.A.L.E.S. has been so successful. “Teamwork is essential for an organizations’ success because it means having a network of individuals committed to a common mission,” said senior finance major and current M.A.L.E.S. President Kendrick Constant. “We establish teamwork by creating a sense of trust. A cohesive body of people working as a team is the key accomplishing any goal.”