Community, Engagement, Belonging and Access; OUR Clemson

Longtime Men of Color National Summit volunteers encourage new volunteers


For the last five years, several thousand young men from various high schools, universities and organizations have gathered at the Greenville Convention center for the annual Men of Color National Summit. The Summit fosters a more inclusive, supportive and diverse environment by helping close the opportunity gap for young men of color with the promise of new pathways to higher education.

Now in its sixth year, volunteers continue to support the Summit’s continued growth and success. Shelly Geer, who volunteered for last year’s Summit, learned of the opportunity while serving as a member of the executive committee on Staff Senate.

Shelly Geer (pictured left) volunteered for the Summit in 2022.

An assistant director of Internal Operations for the Nieri Center, Geer took advantage of the opportunity to get involved with the Summit and worked the busy registration tables.

“I was impressed by the mission of the Summit and the sheer number of youth it would impact,” says Geer.  “It’s an incredible experience volunteering at Registration – the sheer number of attendees, their excitement of attending a National Conference with programs and presentations focused on education and the opportunities that come from being involved and engaged is unlike anything else.”

For Geer, volunteering alongside her fellow Clemson colleagues made the experience even more special, providing the opportunity to interact with other employees across Clemson. She is equally appreciative that she works at a University and for a department that supports her service at the event.

Another volunteer, Pablo Unda, has volunteered for the event for several years.  An international employment manager for the Office of Human Resources, Unda, first volunteered for the Summit in 2018 and is a big believer in the inclusion and the opportunities the event creates, especially for first-generation minority students. Volunteering was one of the best opportunities for Unda to join the Summit.

“Based on what I had heard about the Summit and the information shared by attendees, I was expecting to be impressed, and it did not disappoint me. The speakers were great and the interactions and opportunities to talk with students were rewarding,” Unda said.

Pablo Unda (pictured left) has volunteered for every Men of Color National Summit event.

Having volunteered with other University events and initiatives such as El Camino to Clemson and with the Commission of Latino Affairs, Unda believes continued service is essential for growth, especially for a major event like the Summit.

“When you volunteer you are not only giving but also receiving. You must be involved to be able to share. As you share, they also share, and you grow.  As the summit has grown and you volunteer, you get to see its impact and it encourages you to volunteer for events beyond the Summit,” Unda said.

As the Men of Color Summit has grown over the last five years, Geer, Unda and the large team of Clemson employee volunteers that provide their service have been invaluable in keeping the event running successfully.

“The best things I remember seeing and experiencing at the Summit are the interactions with the student participants. Seeing their attitudes change before your eyes and witnessing a great group of people working together to get this done encourages me to keep volunteering,” Unda said.

The Men of Color National Summit will commence on March 28-29 in the Greenville Convention center.

Faculty and staff are encouraged to volunteer. Interested volunteers can sign up through the volunteer registration form.