This week might as well be known as HBCU Homecoming Week. A whopping fifteen different HBCUs are having Homecoming celebrations this week, including my own. If you know anything at all about the HBCU culture, you know how major homecoming is. An HBCU Homecoming is an experience like no other; it is a time when alumni old and new can come together and reminisce, a time for current students to see where they can go, and for those who have left and moved on to see what became of their beloved “yard”. An HBCU Homecoming is (usually) a week-long celebration of HBCU tradition, family, friends, good food and good times. In short, Homecoming at an HBCU is a week-long example of what the four year HBCU experience is.
I know that visiting Homecomings helped me to understand what the HBCU experience is. Long ago my parents used to take me to their HBCU, Lane College, for their Homecomings. I remember standing on their Hill year after year just eating barbecue, meeting (future) frat and sorors, listening to music and overall having a good time. Those years going to Lane Homecomings pretty much convinced me that going to an HBCU was the only way to go. So now, several years later, I make it my business to get back to Alcorn Homecomings, looking forward to the day I can share the experience with others just like it was shared with me.
The experience is still amazing and one of a kind. By now I'm sure that some of my PWI alum readers are feeling a way. You probably think that I'm saying that your homecomings are worthless; I'm not. I'm sure a PWI homecoming is fun as well; I’m certain that their football games are high energy nailbiters, and all the liquor at tailgating is really good. What I AM saying though; is that an HBCU Homecoming is on a whole other level. An HBCU Homecoming celebration is packed full of all types of events from Sunday to Sunday. HBCU Homecomings have celebrity appearances, parties, coronations, concerts, step shows, and anything else to show the current students and alumni a good time. An HBCU Homecoming is literally an event: people travel from all over to attend some part of an HBCU Homecoming, and for good reason. From good friends reuniting and partying on the campus to tailgating that allows you to get enough food to feed a small army, the fun to be had at an HBCU Homecoming extends so far beyond just the football game it can’t be compared to anything.
But it’s not all about the fun either though. Being able to come back (or just go) to an HBCU Homecoming is just like attending a class reunion; you are able to come back once you are a little more settled and see how your old classmates ended up. You get to spend time with people who are on your level academically, financially, and even spiritually (because most of these Homecomings have Gospel Explosions as Sunday events) and get to rebuild or make new connections with alumni all over the world using the one thing you all have in common: your love for your alma mater. It’s also a great opportunity for the school to gain support from the alumni who come back. Stepping back on your campus and remembering the fun times and the useful lessons can be just nostalgic enough to get some people to open up their wallets to their beloved HBCU. In return, the school tries to offer as many opportunities as it can for the "old heads" to have reunions and network during Homecoming. An HBCU, no matter its size or notoriety, is designed to give its students the boost they need, even in cases like my HBCU supporting one of their own in her fight against breast cancer.
Really though, an HBCU Homecoming is one of those things that you just can’t explain to someone who has never experienced it. It is literally a body moving, soul shaking, high stepping good time. I STRONGLY recommend that every Black person visit an HBCU Homecoming at least once in their lives; I can promise you there is something for everyone. What you see just may make you want to stick around for a few more daze.
Do you have any special HBCU Homecoming memories? Are you going to any HBCU Homecomings this year? Leave any questions, comments or concerns below and don't forget to like, share, and subscribe!