Aside from academics, there are tons of opportunities that HBCUs offer their students to help them take advantage of their four years. Sporting events may occupy a large portion of your school focus, but student organizations and opportunities can make the college experience an incredibly memorable one. We'll run through a few notable HBCU organizations and opportunities—some heavy on the fun, others geared towards helping you build your future.
Greek life was probably one of the first types of organizations that popped into your mind. As the most popular organization to be a brother or sister of, going Greek can change your entire perspective on your HBCU. In or out of it, Greek influences everything on campus. BGLOs, Black Greek-Lettered Organizations, are steeped in history, dating back to the very first black fraternity (Alpha Phi Alpha) in 1906 at Cornell University. Just years later, Omega Psi Psi was established at Howard University in 1911. Now, BGLOs carry on time-tested traditions, like call and response chants, strolling and stepping, and always showing up for the organization with respect and loyalty. If you join one of the Divine Nine chapters, you'll form lasting bonds that could help you out in the professional world.
Campus Queens and Kings
Ebony Magazine's annual HBCU Campus Queens Contest garners participation from women all over the nation for a chance to be featured in the popular publication. Contestants must submit a photo, video, and bio to Ebony to qualify. The competition can get a little crazy, and Ebony ultimately chooses ten ladies as Campus Queens. Winning this contest is not only an accomplishment for ten lucky women, but it's a major win for the HBCU they're repping, too! Ebony also hold a Campus Kings Contest, which functions the same as the Queens. Though this isn't a campus-specific opportunity, it's an exciting way to get your HBCU on Ebony's radar. At Tradition, we only serve kings and queens anyways.
Black College Ministries
Religion can be a powerful tool to have during school when times become tough, and worship groups are pillar HBCU organizations. With religion woven into the tapestry of HBCUs, fellowship is close at hand. Black College Ministries (BCM) is present on many campuses, inviting students to come together for worship. BCM's mission is to reach "black students and faculty at majority institutions and historically black colleges/universities nationwide, ministering to the unique needs of the community and laboring to develop extraordinary Black Christian leaders and world changers." If your HBCU doesn't have a BCM chapter, it may have one very similar. If not, the BCM website offers directions on how to establish a group on your campus. That way, you can found your own HBCU organization!
Thurgood Marshall College Fund/United Negro College Fund
Even before you begin your college career, thinking about scholarships, financial aid, and your future career can feel uncomfortable and stressful. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) and the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) are two excellent organizations you should consider joining your freshman year. TMCF is the nation's largest organization that only represents the Black College Community. They've awarded over $300 million to TMCF-member school and their students. Scholarships are available through them, as well as need-based assistance. TMCF also talent sources, meaning employers come to them looking for perfect candidate matches—which could be you! The United Negro College Fund operates similarly; they too offer scholarships and offer aid to African American students who attend UNCF-member schools. After all, their organization motto is "A mind is a terrible thing to waste," and we agree. Get to know these two to not only secure your success at your HBCU, but include yourself in a pool of candidates for future employment opportunities!