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Wabruda sponsors Black Man’s Think Tank

Nora Kenney | Monday, March 22, 2010

Members of the South Bend community joined with Notre Dame faculty,  staff and students for the third annual Black Man’s Think Tank, sponsored by the student group Wabruda, in DeBartolo Hall Saturday.  

The weekend’s event,  “Moving Up in a Down Economy in a Holistic Approach: Mind, Body and Soul” intended to stimulate dialogue about the role of black men in American society.

Wabruda, which takes its name from the Swahili word for “brotherhood,” works to promote brotherhood and leadership among black men on campus. Saturday’s event aimed to embody the three main themes of Wabruda: community service, intellectual elevation and faith in God, members said.

“It’s really helpful to provide useful information to the broader African American community in addition to the wider community,” said Wabruda president Jarred Carter, a senior.

He said it was for that reason that the club put more effort into advertising this year, using radio announcements, announcements in local churches, electronic fliers in LaFortune and posters on campus.

“Being on Notre Dame’s campus [and] seeing students like ourselves, for an example, is good for the South Bend community,” said senior Kevin Fobi, vice president of Wabruda. “Plenty of people live in South Bend but never get to go to campus and see the African Americans who are living at ND and succeeding.”

Jeff Jackson, a faculty member from Indiana University, heard about the event from Wabruda advisor David Moss, a professor of psychology at Notre Dame and the University’s Vice President of Student Affairs. 

“Whenever you have an event that empowers African American men it’s a must-attend event, because so often we hear the negative,” Jackson said. “This is an event that focuses on empowerment and positive aspects of finding balance.” 

Retired civil engineer Josh Chapple, an active stock market investor and a volunteer in the South Bend community, discussed the mind aspect of the holistic approach to the economy and addressed the young African Americans in the audience as “the future leaders of our community.” 

Junior Khai Thomas, a member of Wabruda, said he was most looking forward to the speaker who followed Chapple: Chinedum Ndukwe, a former safety on the Notre Dame football team who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals. 

Ndukwe spoke about the body and how physical activity is conducive to a proactive approach to business and work ethic. 

Ndukwe was followed by Dr. Robert Price, an ordained pastor who discussed the role of faith in the management of money. 

Following the discussion forum was a luncheon at Legends with a roundtable discussion, a showing of the film “The Pursuit of Happyness” and a Black History Tour of Chicago on Sunday.   

Members of Wabruda said they appreciate the events like this weekend’s and what the club has done to enhance their college experience.

“It is geared to a certain demographic, but it’s open to everyone and we have had members from all walks of life which has been really interesting and really enhanced our experience of being here,” Thomas said.