Story Student Success

‘A Commitment to Rise Together, Through Graduation and in Life’


Jordan Sylvestre shares how the Male Success Alliance at California State University, Dominguez Hills helped him stay on track toward his degree.

“I’m thankful to have connected with an organization that kept me invested in the idea of graduation,” says kinesiology student and graduating senior Jordan Sylvestre. Photo courtesy of Jason Duncan


“I am a graduating senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills, and in the spring of 2017 I will have a degree in kinesiology.

I am also Associated Students, Inc. President and a member of the Male Success Alliance (MSA).

My journey through Dominguez Hills inspired me to set many goals I didn't think were possible at first. I am fortunate to have ’failed forward,’ as well as succeeded, throughout my college years and thankful to have connected with an organization that kept me invested in the idea of graduation—my original goal, set seven years ago. 

The MSA is an initiative fostered by Dr. William Franklin, Vice President of Student Life at CSUDH and was developed collectively for Black and Latino men on our college campus as a system of support, development and retention.

Support comes in the form of each brother within MSA investing in one another. After I met the past president of MSA, Leonidas Sloan, and past coordinator, Matthew Smith, and countless other brothers, I was always aware of and participated in the jobs and different events that MSA provided.

Our development comes in multiple ways. On campus, brothers are given opportunities to engage in monthly general meetings to enhance our understanding of self through career workshops and guest speakers. We encourage the visual success of our men of color by wearing a suit and tie at events, although it is not a requirement.

Off-campus, and through personal investment, brothers go back into the community and mentor young men of color throughout our surrounding communities. I, along with many other brothers, have had the chance to spend time with middle and high school students still finding themselves, as we were and as we still are today. We have been able to collectively change these young men’s developing ideas around thoughts of black and brown leadership, role models, and thriving in college while making it to the finish line.

Retention [to earn a degree] has been personal for me and it’s why I will always support our mission. The organization has been many things to me over the years as a student, but mainly it has been a support and the reason I never paused my education. I connected most with the brothers of the MSA during a time when I felt the need to refocus my attention outside of school; however, the men around me did not see that as an option.

The commitment to rise together through graduation and in life began to mean more as I experienced brothers with their own struggles who were still personally invested in my degree.

I would like to note: MSA is not a fraternal organization. The men are identified as brothers to each other because of MSA's commitment to all men of color and a motto all men who support each other may identify with: ‘I am my brother's keeper, and together we will rise.’

This is the promise we also make to our communities, and why mentorship at all levels is highlighted as one of our strongest aims. MSA maintains that focus with its daily work in middle schools and high schools throughout Los Angeles and by bringing all brothers connected to the organization—from professionals to students in middle school through college—to the annual Male Success Alliance Leadership Summit.

It’s a day men are able to connect with their cultural roots, hear the stories that made brothers who they are today, and interact with peers and role models alike.

The essence of the Male Success Alliance is community. We are individuals who inspire each other to be conscious of life and competent in knowledge and our actions while remaining committed to others. The work of MSA has shown me that we need each other to be a stronger community, and I look forward to growing my community as a college graduate of 2017.”