The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


Alumni start nonprofit

Opened Eyes is a new, nonprofit organization that was created by two Gannon University alumni earlier this year. Their goal is to raise diversity awareness in all aspects and create a cultural unity as well as develop a positive self-identity.

Brandon Wiley and Chris Wrobel met during their sophomore year in 2009. Together they were the founding members of Delta Sigma Phi Gamma Rho and worked on the executive board. After they graduated in 2010, they kept in touch. Wiley then had a dream that he believed was spiritually driven and he had to call up Wrobel to share with him.

“I believe that God provided me with this dream/vision and this has become a mission for us to serve purpose in society by educating others on the universal diversity concept and what that means internally and externally,” Wiley said.

Two years ago when he had dreamed about writing a book about his life, the title was “What Are You?” He then talked to a friend about how it would be really beneficial to create a program that helps people find their identity.

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Wiley explained why “What Are You?” is the driving force for the program.

“This very question used to plague me through various stages of my life,” Wiley said. “I was asked this question because people didn’t know my racial background. I am multiracial; I have a Native American and black dad and an Italian mom. Due to this, I was in a state of identity crisis growing up because I felt that I needed to choose a side. So most of my life has been all about trying to be comfortable with just being me.”

The ideology behind this program is to help children, adolescents and young adults to identify with themselves and increase their self-esteem.

“I now want to ask the world regardless of race, gender, religious beliefs etc. the same question, what are you,” Wiley said. “Because I feel as if it is a more self-reflective question and I want it to challenge people to seek, discover and find themselves and to understand and respect the diverse world around them.”

In the future they plan on taking this program into schools, businesses and police stations to educate on the differences in society.

Opened Eyes hopes to go all across the nation. Wiley said that they could not think of a better place to start a nonprofit than Erie since Gannon had inspired Wiley so profoundly.

“Gannon provided me with many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and be involved with various activities,” Wiley said. “Gannon developed my leadership skills in a major way.”




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