The K.I.N.G.S. of BGSU

Student organization makes positive impact 

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By Alex Solis

Each week, more than 50 men of color gather with one mission – to focus on academic and social excellence. Knowledge Is Necessary for Growth and Success, commonly known as K.I.N.G.S., is a group of undergraduate students striving to make a positive impact on campus.  

Since the student organization’s founding in 2012, K.I.N.G.S. has explored educational and programming opportunities to help others. Annually, they host a conference focused around their mission. In 2015, more than 140 high school and college students, faculty, staff and alumni attended to learn how each person has the ability to leave a legacy, a testament to the impact the group is having. 

“K.I.N.G.S. brings students from all different backgrounds together to address issues we face in life and at BGSU. We create a dialogue on how we can grow and overcome any obstacle,”

Senior Keith Johnson, majoring in health care administration, was tapped to lead the group after transferring to BGSU. He said the men involved in the organization became his family. “K.I.N.G.S. brings students from all different backgrounds together to address issues we face in life and at BGSU. We create a dialogue on how we can grow and overcome any obstacle,” Johnson said.  

The purpose of K.I.N.G.S. is to foster an environment that uplifts and empowers men of color, to build a strong community among its members and to enhance the image of men of color. Knowing that the students had much to learn from each other, Johnson focused this year on peer mentorship.

“Our Brother-to-Brother program provides a safe space for our members to express themselves,” he said. “We explore any topic that may be challenging our brotherhood and it helps us to bond. K.I.N.G.S. has helped me grow more than I could ever explain; this organization kept me inspired during my time at BGSU.” 

Recently, K.I.N.G.S. achieved a major accomplishment. More than 50 students have contributed to the group’s overall 3.0 GPA, a goal established at the beginning of the year. At their weekly study tables, the students stress the importance of academics and completing a degree at BGSU. 

Jeffery Jackson, assistant vice president for student career success and director of the Career Center, serves as the adviser to K.I.N.G.S. Humbled that the students sought him for this role, Jackson said he continues to be impressed by how they carry themselves.

“Being the adviser to such a special group, I strive to always be authentic and transparent with the students. We must embrace diversity and inclusion to retain students,” Jackson said. “Having a direct connection to the Career Center helps the men involved with K.I.N.G.S. to start planning for life after BGSU.”  

The K.I.N.G.S. have a bright future. Together, they want to increase their membership and continue partnering with other student organizations and offices to improve student life at BGSU. Their success has led them to help students at the University of Toledo to start a similar support system, a brotherhood that changes lives.