“People definitely remember me from Starbucks the most,” said fourth-year Nevan Bell. However, Bell has done far more since leaving his position as California State University, Monterey Bay’s (CSUMB) favorite Starbucks barista.
Currently Bell acts as a student coordinator for the Young Men of Color Alliance, an orientation leader, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center researcher and Pinnacles resident advisor. He also serves on five different campus committees, co-hosts State of the Raft with Associated Students President David Ledesma and is a brother of Alpha Sigma Phi.
Bell is especially proud of his role as a member and coordinator for the Young Men of Color Alliance, a department that specializes in providing resources to students of color and focusing on helping to decrease the equity gap for men of color. He explained men of color have the highest dropout rate due to lack of support from the university.
“In this role I work alongside a team that focuses on advocacy, cultural programming (like the baile de OSU event), meetings and providing financial, academic and professional resources for students,” said Bell.
“This role really challenged me to take time to reflect upon my own identities and the way I show up on campus for students,” he said. “From seeing our members make it to graduation and have a path outside of college, to organizing the event I was most proud of and dear to me – Baile de OSU for Día De Los Muertos. I have not been more proud of my community and the growth I see in myself through the past year.
“It reminds me that there is still change, but has set me on a path I want to pursue as I go into graduate school.”
Bell plans to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to pursue a masters – and eventual doctorate – in higher education counseling and student affairs.
“I want to make sure I can help create programs that value students equally and transform the systems that create barriers for students,” he said.
This is something that Bell hopes to see translated at CSUMB as well, with strengthened communication for students, faculty and staff.
“For the future of CSUMB, I hope to see a culture of care made not just for students, but staff and faculty. Very little does the university communicate well with students, staff, and faculty. The voice of these individuals is no longer implemented into the future of this university and it should be,” he said.
“We call ourselves Otters, yet we refuse to create a raft,” Bell said. “I see a future where students feel empowered once again to be a part of the creation of a better future. I see one where staff and faculty are valued, and are provided equitable spaces for them to be respected and supported. I see a university where there is a community that wants to see each other succeed.”