M2M: The Men’s Initiative (video)

Jess Myers is Director of UMBC’s Women’s Center.

As the director of the Women’s Center, it is important to me to honor the strengths and passions of each of my staff members in assigning the work they do. When I hired then-freshman Max Barnhart – our first male staff member – he presented new opportunities to consider. I was thinking about creating a men’s group and Max was just the right staff member to give it a jump start. And, that is exactly what he did, which is a great thing.

Men often find themselves in the “man box,” which has strict and rigid rules about how men should perform in their gender. College men are more likely than women to complete suicide, use drugs and alcohol, participate in unsafe and violent sexual behavior, and be referred to the student conduct office (learn more). And, at the same time, organized opportunities rarely exist for men to dialogue about their gender and who they are as men.

In the Women’s Center, we’re breaking ground to challenge these norms and will begin offering M2M: The Men’s Initiative for UMBC students who identify as men.

This men-only group, led by UMBC staff members who also identify as men, will create intentional time and space to consider what manhood means, construct multiple ways to define and live out a healthy masculinity, and create new friendships. We hope this will be a new way to engage the campus community and make a difference in the lives of others.

If you are interested in joining M2M, visit this site to download the application. This short application lets us know a little bit about you and your interests. The deadline is Friday, September 7th. M2M will meet on Wednesday mornings for 10 weeks beginning September 12th. If you’re interested and can’t make the meeting times, please still fill out an application.

The staff members who stepped up to help the Women’s Center collaborate on M2M are: Ben Goldberg, Dan Sym, David Hoffman, Craig Berger, Derrick Johnson and Galina Portnoy. We’re so thankful for their support and commitment.

Contact the author, Jess Myers, at jess.myers@umbc.edu.

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