How to Support HBCUs

December 09, 2022 — Jt Spratley

Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCU) culture was a hot topic when Deion Sanders left Jackson State University (JSU) for University of Colorado (CU). More than I'd ever seen before, people were comparing predominately white institutions (PWIs) and HBCUs. People were debating integration versus segregation. What I found most interesting was the talk about how HBCU alumni can better support those who attend those schools, which seemingly influenced Coach Prime to leave JSU.

Coach Sanders' time at JSU has positively affected HBCUs as enrollment has increased significantly. A large part of the reason is the timing. The "Black Lives Matter" movement, George Floyd police incident, and multiple organizations pushing the #ReparationsNow movement fueled the attention he brought to HBCUs. Notable evidence: a senator had the nerve to ask Tennessee State University (TSU) representatives why people were choosing them over PWIs.

Increasing HBCU attendance is only part of the battle.

Last year, the state of Maryland was forced to pay $577 million that was withheld from Maryland HBCUs for fifteen years. HBCUs in other are reportedly doing the same thing. I'm not suggesting that alumni should donate more to make up for funding that governments deny HBCUs. The lies about the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities program Title III-B program and Trump saving HBCUs by signing the FUTURE Act are for the politically minded Black leaders. But a few bucks annually from a bunch of people can go a long way. It's the easiest option for those without extra time to contribute now.

Buy School Merchandise and Represent

When you wear something with a visible logo, you're advertising for that brand. Use that power to advertise your HBCU pride. I've created a list of Black-owned HBCU clothing companies, but you should at least check out your university's official bookstore. The goal isn't consumerism for the sake of consuming, but to show others that there are alumni with healthy HBCU community pride.

Volunteer Mentorship

The Black youth always benefits from more genuine mentorship, which can lead to great networking opportunities.

  1. Participate in HBCU discussions on social media to help current students make the most out of their college experience.
  2. Find ways to assist your alumni association.
  3. Update your school's career center with recommended skills and credentials for your industry. Maybe volunteer to review resumes.
  4. Volunteer to assist student organizations related to your career fields.
  5. Offer your school priority slots for student internships, jobs, and scholarships in their job platform (Handshake, etc.).
  6. Share HBCU-focused resources such as the IBM HBCU Cybersecurity Initiative.

I hope I've given you something to think about.

Tags: college, black-community, employment

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