If you to Google “women outperforming men,” the headlines indicate a cultural shift: In “The New York Times,” an article titled, Women Leave Men in the Dust in College cites Department of Education data indicating that women are not only more likely to get a bachelor’s degree, they get better grades than men. In “The Chronicle of Higher Education,” the pieces Women Value Education More Highly Than Men and Colleges Confront a Gender Gap in Student Engagement seek to explain the phenomenon and offer advice to concerned profs.
Dwight Roth, a former Hesston College sociology instructor, is well aware of the phenomenon.
“Very generally, around the world young males are descending while young females are ascending in areas such as self-concept, emotional well-being, academics and employment,” said Roth.
Roth and Tony Brown, instructor of social work, decided they would do something about that. Their response was to form The Amen Group, an organization of male students that seeks to help young men identify their gifts and value their self-worth.
“The group exists to work on character development among young men and instill a sense of care for something beyond themselves,” explains Taylor Ermoian, a sophomore member. “Today men are often apathetic or lacking in certain areas of life. The Amen Group looks to address these issues, and potentially rise above the stereotype of men.”
The Amen Group has been one of the more visible organizations on campus, perhaps in part because of their all-male music video, “Hesston College Gangnam Style,” which has generated over 5000 views on YouTube. They were also highly involved with events during Martin Luther King Week, which drew attention to gender as an issue of diversity and inclusion.
These positive, engaged contributions are key, according to its members, and they reflect the group’s core identity. The name “Amen,” Roth explained, is an affirmative statement that has great significance for the group. It communicates “verily, surely, indeed,” which are words young men need to apply to themselves.
When the Amen Group meets, they delve into topics ranging from deeper connection with God, nature, and others, the desire for silence and solitude, or male/female relationships.
“We meet to continue our conversations in hopes of constantly becoming better men. We wish to be well rounded in all areas of life,” said Ermoian.
For further information regarding The Amen Group, feel free to contact one of the group’s members: Sophomores Taylor Ermoian, Alex Miller, Mason Unruh, Sam Foxvog, Tim Bixler, Neal Brubaker and group organizers, Dwight Roth and Tony Brown.