In a society where it seems that social media and reality stars are able to keep youngsters’ attention more effectively than books or teachers, having positive role models in our community is more important ever. Jessie Hurse of Flint, Michigan, has been exactly that, making a positive impact on local students as well as his community.
Jessie Hurse, director of student conduct and conflict at the University of Michigan-Flint, is known for being for the “big man on campus” for good reason. Throughout his time at the university, Hurse has become acquainted with many of the students on campus through his presentations on conflict resolution, how to properly conduct oneself both on and off campus, and of course, the consequences for violating university policies. Beyond that, however, he is known to be a friendly face and mentor to every student he encounters.
Although it may sound contradictory that someone in Hurse’s positon would be one of the most loved people on campus, he has been able to connect with students because it is his calling.
“I believe God put me here to help touch people and help people understand that they’re not alone. I think I played an integral role with helping students understand what sublimity means, and helping students understand the consequences of bad decisions, but also helping them learn from missteps so they can make the right decisions. I wanted to help cultivate students on campus and transform them into outstanding individuals both in the classroom and out.”
Just one example of his dedication to giving back to the community, Hurse started the Lula M. Hurse Food Giveaway in November of 2012. After unexpectedly losing his mother in 2010, Hurse decided to honor his mother and her love of the Thanksgiving holiday by purchasing and distributing 150 turkeys. With the help of Officer Stephen Mayfield and the support of the university’s Block Club, however, the Lula M. Hurse Food Giveaway exceeded Hurse’s expectations in the first year, distributing over 300 turkeys and two semi-truckloads of food. Since then, the annual food giveaway has only grown, serving roughly 1,400 families last year.
Beyond that, Hurse is constantly involved in giving time to his community and he loves to look for mentorship opportunities, as well as volunteer at local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, or wherever else he can be of assistance.
Even though many students, faculty, and surrounding members of the community look to him as an esteemed role model, Hurse says humble. “I try to do as much as I can while still being discrete. I don’t need to receive any recognition for doing what people should be doing,” he says.
Hurse is now off to share his knowledge and humanitarianism with a new community as he transitions to a new position at Oakland University as the Dean of Students. In his departure from the University of Michigan-Flint, he has given the students in UM-Flint’s Block Club the responsibility and honor of helping to carry the Lula M. Hurse Food Giveaway into its fifth year and beyond. Hurse will truly be missed in the Flint community.