Because of people like JP Troglio and Jorge Bonilla, senior Derick Brown was able to make it through his freshman year.
“I was not doing so well as a freshman,” Brown said. “Jorge Bonilla helped get my life back together to do better in school and improve my situation on campus.”
Now, Bonilla is putting together a focus group to help minority students adjust to Olivet and the college atmosphere. The group will consist of upperclassmen minority students mentoring freshman and sophomore minority students. It will be up and running “hopefully” by Fall 2016.
Bonilla has already conducted two focus groups in the past: one with black male students and the other with hispanic male students. Olivet Staff Therapist Cynthia Taylor has already created a focus group for black women that meets weekly, Bonilla said.
Coming to Olivet was a culture shock for Troglio, the assistant resident director of the Grand Apartments. Troglio grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. Through his background, he connects with a diverse range of students.
“Olivet is a phenomenal place and wants to educate people,” Troglio said. “It is a community like no other, but the body of Christ is inclusive not exclusive. The body of Christ has to support and build up individuals who may feel out of place.”
Troglio noted that several Olivet students have never encountered diversity before coming to Olivet.
“My guys from the inner city, those students can be loud,” Troglio said. “They’ll be in the cafeteria laughing and screaming. Some people may look at them like they’re crazy.”
Brown added: “It’s about improving their situations, some of them feel like they don’t need help or don’t know how to get it.”
—Nathan DiCamillo, Life and Culture editor