As senior sport management student Quiyante Simpson-Burroughs observed the division and unrest throughout the U.S., he thought of a way to give every student on the BJU campus the opportunity to stay informed and feel understood.
“With the history of the school, many people have their own perceptions about the school,” he said. “It was important for me to bring an organization … to pass so we may be able to unify the student body. We must acknowledge our differences but come to an agreement that we are all believers in Christ.”
Simpson-Burroughs shared his idea with Noah Jackson, a sophomore criminal justice student, and recruited him to the project. Simpson-Burroughs and Jackson took the necessary steps to make this idea a reality and met with President Steve Pettit and others in the university administration.
Simpson-Burroughs and Jackson found that the administration supported their idea and wanted to hear more. “Dr. Pettit was willing to hear us out and hear our ideas. That is something that I am so thankful for. He was just so open and supportive of the idea,” Jackson said.
The administration and Pettit worked with Simpson-Burroughs and Jackson to develop a plan to create a student organization that would launch during the fall semester.
The Inaugural Meeting
On Oct. 22, Minorities Empowered to Educate and Serve hosted its first meeting and invited all of the student body. The event was attended by Pettit and Dr. Mary Mendoza, chair of the Division of Communication and faculty advisor to METES. Mendoza is joined on the advisory board by Courtney Montgomery of BJU’s Public Relations office.
As president and vice president, Simpson-Burroughs and Jackson explained what METES is trying to accomplish. They talked about unity in Christ, the trials of our times and awareness of other cultures. Simpson-Burroughs said it is all about perception, “The way you perceive somebody or the way you perceive something can hinder or help you fulfill the purpose of God.”
During the meeting, the students in attendance were encouraged to get to know each other in order to win a Chick-fil-A gift card. Jackson also invited the students to join METES and run for chaplain or secretary.
Simpson-Burroughs and Jackson look forward to seeing the student body overall and minority groups grow. “At the end of the day, your voice matters,” said Simpson-Burroughs. “Some people are scared to speak up and act. But just know that this organization supports you as a person (but) as a believer in Christ first. The first step to create change is to come to the table with a different group of people.”
Simpson-Burroughs, Jackson and the rest of the METES officer crew look forward to giving BJU students opportunities to connect with the Greenville community. They are partnering with BJU alumni on several projects that would create enriching opportunities.
“We want to connect with the community. We (propose) to start a science fair (and) a business seminar. Those are things we can put on for high school students, so we can educate them and be serving leaders,” Jackson said.
Another goal is to create mentorship programs, where METES members would have the opportunity to mentor a student in a Greenville County school.
Said Simpson-Burroughs, “We have a lot of goals that we want to accomplish. But I think our biggest goal is to give students an organization that gives them opportunities to make a difference.”
Advice from Sen. Scott
When he recently spoke in chapel, U.S. Sen. Tim Scott said he hopes to also be involved with METES in the future, “I’d love to participate and provide any help from myself or my team that we can provide for those folks.”
Scott went on to give the leaders of METES and the student body this advice: “Remember that God made you exactly as he wanted you. For me, being Black was a gift from God. It was His design that He made me an African American born in 1965, allowed me to end up where I am ‘at such a time as this,’ as Esther 4:14 says, so that I can have an impact on our community based on every single characteristic I have. And none of us should apologize for how God created us. We also should not celebrate how God created us. We should surrender how God created us for a greater use.
“And so when you have a chance to understand your roots, you can celebrate the roots. Celebrate who you are. But don’t celebrate it more than you celebrate the name of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. When we do that, we all find ourselves working together because, last time I checked, there was only Adam and Eve, and we’re all part of the same family. So the only question is how do we maximize the potential in the family of God?”