How to Support an HBCU
Whether or not you went to an HBCU, supporting these institutions is critical to their survival in higher education. With government funding notoriously lower than other PWI schools, HBCUs often struggle with the pains of financial and structural difficulties. While attendance has seen a surge in the last few years, these schools need our help to continue prospering. Here are some ways to truly help on and off HBCU campuses.
1. Choose to attend an HBCU
If you’re researching undergraduate institutions, take time to look at HBCUs. With their smaller campus size, HBCUs can offer intimate, family-like environments to help keep you motivated and feeling like you’re a part of the community. Attending an HBCU, showing your love for the school through service, and letting others know about the opportunities offered there are solid ways to provide support.
2. Help incoming freshmen
If you aren’t new to the HBCU lifestyle, try helping out freshmen who may be having a difficult time adjusting to life beyond high school. Simply befriending younger students could have enormous impacts on their success and happiness at school. This is especially true if you can recall when an older student has ever helped you out. Helping other students is what will keep your campus community strong.
3. Work to change the narrative
All types of higher education institutions have some kind of reputation, but HBCUs often receive the brunt of trash talk. Help redirect the narrative by calling out how people discuss HBCUs and refocus on the qualities that make your school a great place to earn an education. With this, pull conversations out of the past—speak of current and recently graduated successful alumni. While it's important and honorable to acknowledge the countless successes of past HBCU alumni, we must celebrate those who are changing the world now as well.
4. Join the national alumni association of your alma mater
Have you joined your alumni association yet? Aside from membership benefits, this relationship can be symbiotic—the school provided you with the knowledge you possess now, so give back to your HBCU. By giving back, you’re helping keep your school thriving. Building preservation, scholarships, new technologies, and so much more is derived from alumni donations.
5. Invest in HBCUs
Even if you didn’t attend an HBCU yourself, consider donating directly to one. The chances of knowing someone who graduated from an HBCU are extremely likely. Our nation would not be as it is today without the work of HBCU alumni like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Booker T. Washington. By giving to an HBCU, you’re helping students receive an education they may not be able to afford—your aid matters in any quantity. Give to open new opportunities to tomorrow’s leaders.
6. Support brands who support HBCUs
When shopping, it’s always good to know where your money goes, especially if you’re a customer of small businesses. Have you ever heard the phrase “vote with your dollars?” It means that what you choose to spend on is what markets will deem important. People do this all the time by buying organic or shopping with retailers who donate to charities.
At Tradition, our brand is built on securing tomorrow for HBCU students—"Our apparel is designed with the legacy of institutions of higher learning in mind while embracing the innovative possibilities of the future.” This is our mantra, and we operate by this principle every day. With each school we partner with, a portion of our profits go back to the colleges and universities. By choosing us, you’re supporting HBCUs twofold. That’s something to take pride in!