Minorities Empowered to Educate and Serve launched with their first event on Oct. 22, introducing the University to their goals of representing student minority groups, educating all University students about minorities’ cultural experiences and building relationships to better facilitate outreach to minority groups.
Quiyante Burroughs, a senior sports management and business double major and the organization’s founder, saw the need for METES because of the social unrest during the summer after the killing of George Floyd. This need led him to drive from his home in Atlanta. to meet with BJU president Dr. Steve Pettit. This conversation laid the foundation for the organization and opened the door for its formation with the involvement of Dr. Mary Mendoza, chair of the Division of Communication, and Courtney Montgomery, public relations assistant for BJU.
Burroughs said he grew tired of the division he saw in the world and in some of his fellow Christians. “I come to a school where everybody knows or has their own perspective on the school’s past history,” Burroughs said. “A lot of people want to reminisce on the history, but it’s our job to impact the future, and that’s what we should do.”
Burroughs hopes to focus METES on what BJU students can do with the future rather than the past. “As believers in Christ, especially at the school we go to, I believe it’s our job to . . . speak out against things that are wrong, but we also should spread the love of Christ no matter what,” Burroughs said.
Burroughs said METES will exemplify Christian unity by applying God’s love for Christians to others. “Even in wrongdoing, yes, it’s wrong, you should have your consequences, but you should also be loved at the end of the day,” Burroughs said. Christians should look at those who have wronged them the way they want God to look at them, Burroughs said.
Pettit has supported the organization since Burroughs came to him with the idea. “I feel like my role as the president is to put our students in a position where they can be empowered and go out and make a big difference for God,” Pettit said.
Although the idea of a college organization for minorities is not new, Pettit said METES has a new take. “This is an organization that’s unique in its intention, because it’s Christ-centered; its focal point is education and service,” Pettit said. “I want our students to be proud of our school that we’re trying to make a difference, obviously with the Gospel, but also in the world we’ve got to live in today.”
Pettit recognized that BJU has not had many Black students in the past, but now has a growing number of Black students whom he hopes to empower through METES. “You can’t just focus on the big; you’ve got to focus on the parts,” Pettit said.
The vision for METES focuses on two main goals: education and service. For BJU students, Burroughs hopes to use education to widen their perspectives. “I want them to be exposed to the different perspectives of life—every single person, not just one group, so that . . . we understand that no matter what, we are believers, and it’s our job to serve,” Burroughs said.
Burroughs plans for METES to serve the community, as well as the students of Bob Jones University. The first objective is to serve the minority communities outside of the campus, partially through being an example. “We all get together to do the work of the body of Christ—how beautiful would that be as the limelight in the time that we’re in right now,” Burroughs said. “It’s not our job to be divisive, it’s our job to be united.”
METES will also be a connecting force between BJU and the greater Greenville community to fulfill Burroughs’ goal of service. Burroughs said many BJU students may not know the perspective that others outside in the community have about BJU. “But I think it’s time now to make that [perspective] known, because we have the ability to connect with the community and actually grow,” Burroughs said.
Burroughs’ vision of this relationship between BJU and the greater community sets BJU up as an example of unity through diversity. “I wanted people on the outside to witness the school’s progress, but I also wanted the school to be able to witness the growth that we still have [to accomplish],” Burroughs said.
METES is open to anyone. “This organization is not just for minorities. This organization is for everybody, because . . . we’re all instructed to serve,” Burroughs said.
METES had its first informational meeting for prospective members on Thursday evening, attended by Pettit and about 50 students. Burroughs spoke along with Mendoza and Noah Jackson, a sophomore paralegal studies major and vice president of METES. Jackson said the reaction to METES has been enthusiastic, from the beginning of the group’s work with faculty to the first meeting with prospective members.
What moved Jackson most was the questions he received after the meeting from students and faculty, which demonstrated their willingness to learn, Jackson said. “It was beautiful to see individuals from a multitude of different backgrounds communicate their support for education, service and mentorship,” he said.
Jackson hopes others will take the opportunity METES provides to serve, as he did. “It was an incredible experience to discover within myself the motivation to impact others in my Christian leadership,” Jackson said.