BY: JENNY JECROIS
As I made my way to the Mecca, it was like entering a music video. I saw swarms of people decked out in Howard apparel and many dressed to the nines. Walking closer to the Yard, the smell of fried food and the pounding base of the music, ampt up my excitement of the memories I was going to make. It was a beautiful thing to witness, students, alumni, friends, and family from all over coming back to their Alma mater. That day I danced, laughed and made memories that I will forever cherish.
Howard Homecoming week is the richest cultural tradition of the institution to the extent of attracting non-Howard attendees. This year, Howard's 95th annual Homecoming presented the theme "Forward", a concept that the university and all Bison's embody. An experience like no other, HU Homecoming is where everyone comes together to celebrate the community and its excellence.
Homecoming week featured many activities designed for Bisons of all ages including their annual Greek Step Show, Student Fashion Show, and President Wayne Fredrick's State of the University Address. My favorites, Yard Fest and Tailgate are included in the list as well. These two events have the biggest non-Howard attendees. I saw many familiar faces from AU, people from out of state, community members and even celebrities. I guess we all wanted to experience some of that Bison pride. Let's just say, I've never been in a space that presented so many shades of melanin and a wide range of cultural backgrounds; an eye-opening and refreshing experience to say the least.
Homecoming serves more of a purpose rather than just pure amusement, it can also be beneficial for networking opportunities. Homecoming can encourage students to talk to alumni and learn about past student's trials and tribulations. This bond urges students to network which could lead to internships and careers.
For Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), networking is especially important because it can be a less cut throat and highly encouraged way to converse with alumnus; something that is unique to AU (for their students of color). I can definitely speak on the behalf that finding connection at college can be difficult. You have to manage your class and work schedules, which can interfere with maintaining connections. On top of that, there's this huge pressure of convincing people that you will make a great asset. Homecoming is the perfect atmosphere for light, no-pressure networking.
From this experience, Howard Homecoming will now be my annual black joy ritual. Witnessing the celebration of others being unapologetically black, is a space that I don't intend on shying away from. I truly can't wait to watch how Howard moves forward.