Lonam brings leadership to Mallet Assembly
Alana Norris | Contributing WriterBy Alana Norris | 09/15/2014 11:45pm
As the Mallet Assembly begins another year at the Capstone, Terrance Lonam, a sophomore majoring in interdisciplinary studies, takes on the responsibility as the organization's leader. Lonam said his focus as president will be acting as a voice for his peers.
The assembly, a self-governing honors residence program, was founded by John Blackburn in 1961 to help calm hostilities due to desegregation. Lonam said he hopes to help Mallet members with the transition into their new home at the Highlands and enable both Malleteers and other community members to speak out about concerns important to the community.
“There are a lot of issues that are really important to Mallet – the state and Tuscaloosa politics, the housing crisis, so really my job will be done if I’m able to help Malleteers voice their opinion or be heard on any of these important issues," Lonam said.
Through his work with the Honors College 57 Miles Initiative, an outreach program for the Black Belt region of Alabama, Lonam has been able to put his passion for social justice to use by writing grants to generate funds for the program. 57 Miles coordinator Chris Joiner said the initiative recently earned funds from a grant written by Lonam.
“I think that’s one of his greatest strengths – to listen and empathize with others,” Joiner said.
Lonam began to participate in student life at the University early with his involvement in Mallet, the Honors College and New College. Before coming to the Capstone, he said he was dead set on not attending the University until his grandmother, who works in adult education in New College, convinced him to tour the campus, where he said he fit in well.
After online research prior to his freshman year, Lonam joined Mallet. Though he knew he wanted to be more involved in the organization, he said he was surprised to be elected president as a sophomore.
Angie Bartelt, a senior majoring in telecommunication and film and political science, is sports chair for Mallet and said she is excited to see Lonam use his leadership skills to help Mallet flourish both on campus and within the community.
“He is an incredibly intelligent, wonderful public speaker, who just came in and immediately only wanted to do what was best for Mallet," Bartelt said. "And as president thus far, he has been on top of his game, and he is leading us 100 percent in the right direction."
Joseph Florence, a law student and student alumni representative for Mallet, said while Lonam possesses all the qualities of a good leader, the relationships he has built with his fellow Malleteers serve him better as president.
“I feel like he’s very reliable, and beyond everything that sounds good about being in a position, he’s a really great guy to spend time with,” he said. “He’s a stand-up representation of Mallet.”
Mallet chooses its projects each year based on what members are passionate about and what issues are affecting the University and the community. This year the group will continue to focus on promoting free speech and an inclusive, diverse campus.