Virginia Military Institute hosts program to encourage minority men to attend college

Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - 25 men will graduate Saturday from the cost-free College Orientation Workshop, known as COW, hosted at Virginia Military Institute.

Eugene Williams founded the COW program in 1987 to encourage high school minority men to attend college

“When I was here, I found that the training, the discipline, the rigor was something that a lot of my buddies would’ve really benefited from,” said Williams. “But I knew that they wouldn’t be able to make it at VMI.”

This is the first in-person program since the pandemic, and participants come from seven states and DC. Jaden Alexander, a student from Virginia, says the program has helped his networking schools.

“Talking to people and really networking. I’ve met a lot of new people and understanding their different opinions and how they feel about certain subjects because we all come from different places,” said Alexander. “It’s always important to listen to people and what they have to say.”

There are many activities to encourage teamwork and Carl Anderson, a student from Georgia, says the activities have helped him grow.

“I’ve learned how to be a better leader and have a lot of team-building exercises,” explained Anderson. “So, when we did the pamper pole, I was supposed to go up on this slim pole, and that was made out of wood. So, with my team, I was able to make sure I was safe, and I was able to reach the bar.”

The students also have physically and mentally challenging activities aimed at developing their character.

“I’ve learned to face my fears and persevere and really control my emotions in risky situations,” added Alexander. “So, like I don’t really like heights, and the high ropes and pamper pole really help me grow and not be so scared of certain things.”

COW hopes all the students’ aspirations for their future are greater than when they arrived. If you would like to learn more about joining the program, click here.

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