Theta Lambda Gentlemen’s Society Works to Restore Chivalry and Knighthood.

FullSizeRenderLaGarrius Thomas, Founder and President of the Theta Lambda Gentlemen’s Society

Tuscaloosa, Ala– On September 29, 2015, LaGarrius Thomas, a sophomore Electrical and Electronic Engineering student, became the Founder and President of the Theta Lambda Gentlemen’s Society on The University of Alabama campus.

The Theta Lambda Gentlemen’s Society is a social club to groom better men. “We want our guys to unlock the potential that we know that they have, to take the extra step from being a man to becoming a Gentlemen.”

Thomas operate his society with the belief that the title of gentlemen is more than just putting on nice clothes and going out.

Thomas saw “a generation of young men who were losing touch in who they were, the concept of chivalry was lost, and being a gentleman was unheard of.”

So, he created Theta Lambda with these 5 principals in mind:

  • Promote chivalry
  • Evoke Wisdom
  • Encourage Brotherhood
  • Develop Character
  • Pursue Scholarly Achievements

Thomas took these principals out into the community and to other colleges and universities and began recruiting members to join him. He reached out to the youth in in grade schools and high schools, becoming a mentor and tutor to the students and thriving to become a positive role model in the young men lives he encountered whom might not have that support at home.

“Our students look forward to seeing us every day, they hate it when we aren’t there,” said Thomas, “We see the change in them, we see the way they hold themselves differently from when we first started working with them.”

 

Thomas isn’t alone. Kaylon Graham, a senior student double majoring in Apparel and Textile Design as well as General Business, and secretary of the Theta Lambda Gentlemen’s Society, sees their society as an opportunity to bring about change.

“This is an opportunity to instill politeness and knighthood, an opportunity to create better men,” said Graham.

Graham also teach his students the importance of style by giving his young students style tips on how to tie a tie and the difference in bowties. He emphasizes the importance of appearance by telling his students to “dress how they want to be addressed.”

As the Gentlemen’s Society mission statement says, Thomas and Graham are working to “engage, enrich, and empower men for successful careers, healthy lifestyles, leadership opportunities, and well-balanced relationships.” They live out the principals and mission of the Theta Lambda Gentlemen’s Society in their everyday lives as they work and mentor their 12 students to also live by the principals and mission they have instilled in them.

 

 

Did The University of Alabama Throw Shade at Lucy’s Memorial?

IMG_0748    TUSCALOOSA, Ala —    On September 15, 2017, Mrs. Autherine Lucy Foster stood under a tent on Graves Hall lawn and faced a crowd of over 200 eager faces anxiously waiting for her to speak on her experience.  Mrs. Foster had returned to The University of Alabama to be remembered and honored at the same school that had expelled her sixty-one years earlier because of the color of her skin.  But today, the University of Alabama would unveil a historic marker in her honor for paving the way for many of African-American students at the University.

Friends and family gathered under a tent surrounded by students, faculty, and news reporters; all of whom couldn’t think of a place they’d rather be than right there on Graves Lawn in the Alabama heat standing before a legend.  Everyone, friends and strangers alike all hovered in close to hear what Mrs. Foster had to say.

“Everyone went silent when she spoke.  No matter the anxiousness, no matter the heat, when she spoke everyone got quiet,” said Stacy Jones, Associate Dean of Students and fellow Zeta Phi Beta sister of Mrs. Foster.

The 200 individuals present at such a monumental event basked in the presence of such a courageous and historic figure.  However, there should have been many, more people in attendance, and many more would have liked to have been present. So why weren’t they? Because, as many students and faculty feel, The University of Alabama dropped the ball in informing the student body that Mrs. Foster would be presenting on campus that day.

The students in attendance either found out about the event the night before or the day of through a few student-run social media sites like the Black UA snapchat account. The University owns and operates multiple sites, like University Programs, that serve the purpose of keeping students in the loop about upcoming events and guest speakers.  Within each building, dorm hall, or rest room, there are bulletin boards covered in flyers about events taking place across campus. Students are even bombarded by emails detailing the events that will be taking place each week on campus.

So, “why wasn’t it on University Programs?” asked Mikaela Anderson, a senior psychology student at the University. Anderson caught word of the event at the last minute. She was able to attend but was disappointed by the lack of students in attendance.

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A few students even took to twitter the day of the honoring and demanded that the

 

 

University publicize the event. Students questioned whether or not the University wanted them to know that the event was even taking place.

A student pointed out the fact that the NAACP came to the campus and the student body didn’t know about that either.  Allegedly, President Bell responded, “The people who were deserving were in attendance,” when students questioned him about the lack of information given to the campus about such a visit.

“With this being an institute of higher education, it makes me question the University’s competence,” said Brittany Bounds, a senior social work student, who also expressed disappointment in the lack of students present and widespread publicity surrounding the event.

The honoring of Autherine Lucy Foster was a monumental and historic occasion at the University of Alabama that many will remember for the rest of their lives.  Yet,  many will wish that the University would have informed them of the chance to witness history every time they walk past the marker that stands in front of Graves Hall.

From Foul lines and Basketball Hoops to Spilled Ink and Big Stages.

IMG_0696.JPGTUSCALOOSA, AL– Jahman Hill, a Kansas state native and a Graduate Student at The University of Alabama, had hopes of being 6’4 and a basketball superstar when he was in high school. Attempting to obtain basketball scholarships that would never come, Hill found another opportunity—debating. Hill found his niche in debate and speech at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas where he would be granted a scholarship and transfer to The University of Alabama his Junior year of college; the beginning of the road to becoming a poet and the publishing of his first book, Made From My Mother’s Ceilings.

Hill was persuaded to begin writing poetry by one of his fellow speech team members at Alabama, Eric Marable, Jr. After his poetry was well received by the audience during his first stage performance, Hill decided that he wanted to continue his new found talent so he kept writing and started speaking and reciting his poetry at different events that he was invited to around campus. A year or so later, Hill decided to take his writing to the next level and started competing whenever slam opportunities became available.

He took his poems to the big stage at the World Poetry Slam in Washington, D.C. and it proved to be a great learning experience for Hill, “I learned that this is what people do with poetry and I came back to Tuscaloosa hungry,” Hill said about his defeat in Washington. Upon his return, Hill began to study his craft, observing slams rather than participating, and finding inspiration in other poets like Toni Morrison. Hill also began utilizing the tools given to him by another poet he met during the slam to create more opportunities for poetry in Tuscaloosa.

During his Senior year, Hill discovered a new opportunity to take his poetry to the next level; he wanted to go to Nationals. Facing the challenge of funding for the trip, Kailey Webster- President of ASAP- and Hill were advised to start the organization now known as ASAP- Alabama Student Association for Poetry. ASAP became more than just a way to gain funding for his trip to nationals however, Hill and Webster, along with other colleagues, “were motivated to give poetry a space that was assessable to everyone, not just people that were doing it for school,” as Hill stated. The organization’s intentions are evident with their partnership with the local coffee shop, Monarch Espresso Bar; as Monarch open up their doors every Wednesday night for the organization to host their open mic night that is also free to the public.

As Hill continue to expand on ASAP, his poetry also continues to grow. Not only drawing inspiration from other poets and colleagues, he also finds inspiration in his studies. Exploring theory and philosophy in the classroom, Hill also explores theory and philosophical thought in his writing. G W F Hegel, Mills: The Racial Contract, Kenneth Burke, and The University of Alabama’s very own Dr. Robin Boylorn are some of Hill’s major influences and inspirations for his writing so it was no surprise when he expressed that writing for him comes easier during the school year than during the summer. “Poetry is my attempt to gain a sense of the world honestly,” explained Hill, spoken like a true enthusiast for philosophical thought.

“He is almost like a poetic activist, he is relevant yet comedic, and a free-spirit,” said Jordan Williams, a colleague and friend of Hill. Williams met Mr. Hill this year at a poetry event that took place in near-by Birmingham where they competed against one another, “He is a force to be reckon with and I learned to never compete against him again,” Williams said and giggled.

The future for Hill and ASAP are bright. With goals to create partnerships with more local businesses and generate more venues for all poets at The University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa to attend and have their voices heard. Hill continues to aim high with his goals for ASAP, “poetry will create and become a staple in Tuscaloosa,” he said.

 

 

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