Three Oglethorpe University students are having the opportunity of a lifetime this year participating in the first-ever cohort of Atlanta college students in the national Institute for Responsible Citizenship (IRC).
The OU students were Darlington Edem, a first-year business administration major from Calabar, Nigeria; Braelen Francis, a first-year business major from Prattville, Ala.; and John Louis-Ugbo, a junior psychology major from Decatur, Ga.
“Being a part of the cohort of IRC scholars means getting the opportunity to meet like-minded students from all over Atlanta,” Louis-Ugbo said. “With this institute of young African American men like me, we are given the opportunity to represent our universities and gain much needed guidance from speakers and mentors excelling in their careers. As a scholar we have made a commitment to take advantage of opportunities and leave the door open for each other and those that will come after us.”
Founded in 2003, the IRC’s mission is to prepare the nation’s best and brightest African American male college students to use their extraordinary talents to serve others. In 2016, IRC began its Collegiate Institute program, which is offered in Charlotte, N.C.; Greensboro, N.C.; Durham, N.C.; New York, N.Y.; and now Atlanta.
“This experience will impact me for life,” Francis said. “The Institute is filled with driven young brothers like me who are going to go far in life. So now I have people I can call my brothers and business partners for life.”
The Collegiate Institute sessions take place on five Saturdays per semester and consist of professional development workshops, private meetings with their city’s public and private sector leaders, and bonding activities with the other young men in the cohort.
“The extent of the network I made in just a few weeks was mind-blowing,” Edem said. “From training sessions on ethics and morals to being mentored by successful prominent industry leaders in Atlanta, this is an experience that would help you become a better version of yourself.”