The group currently known as Black Male Initiative began as a mentoring project for regularly admitted African-American male students. Don Bramlett, the groups founder and faculty advisor, looked to create a mentoring program to combat the problem of African-American males having unsuccessful academic experiences at N.I.U. He based his belief of this problem on the following data.
In the fall of 1999, 105 African American males were traditionally admitted to N.I.U. By the end of the spring of 2000 semester 23 of the original 105 regularly admitted black males who entered in the fall of 1999 were on academic probation. Another 23 of those students were dismissed from N.I.U. Don came to the conclusion that black male students needed to have a quick social and academic integration with the university in order for them to have their best experience. Thus, he developed a program to match successful Black male upperclassmen with incoming students because of the eight mentoring programs on campus; none targeted traditionally admitted black male students.
The group, then known as the African American Male Mentoring Program, began in the 2001-2002 academic year. Mentors were chosen to work with incoming students. The students who actively participated in the program earned a cumulative G.P.A. of 2.61 for the 2001-2002 academic year. Members were also inducted into the John Henrik Clarke Society and the University Honors Program. The first President of BMI was Joe Jamal Jones “The Rock”.
In the fall of 2003, the name of the group was changed to Black Male Initiative or BMI. Along with academic achievement, BMI also focuses on community service, mentoring, and leadership development and holds events such as motivational speakers and social outings. BMI has seen its membership rise each semester. BMI has grown from its original five members to over 80. BMI’s goal is to help graduate as many African American males as possible. The group earned recognition by N.I.U.’s Student Association in the 2003-2004 academic year. The group also has a graduation rate of 100% as the five original members all graduated May of 2004. In 2007, BMI became an affiliated chapter of SAAB (Student African American Brotherhood), a national organization dedicated to developing professionally educated African American males. The goals of SAAB or aligned with those of BMI as both organizations focus on education, professional development, and success.
All of our dedicated members plan to work diligently to ensure the quality of life for students on this campus. With new ideas forming each meeting we are sure to establish precedent that will last on this campus. With Don Bramlett guiding us and our current Executive Board leading the way we cannot go wrong.