Homecoming and HBCUs: Defining Our Culture

Homecoming week is an essential part of the college experience, but the event itself tends to differ from predominantly white institutions for historically black colleges and universities. Homecoming has become one of the many staples that set HBCUs apart from PWIs overall.

While homecomings at most PWIs tend to be centered around athletics and school spirit, HBCUs consider homecoming a time to celebrate culture, fashion, music, student life, and more. Students and alumni come together to participate in an entire week of activities – mostly student-run. Homecoming is a time for students to unwind and (hopefully) forget about the excruciating stress and uncertainty that is midterms. At HBCUs, it’s also about getting involved on your campus in ways one wouldn’t expect, and building experience organizing on and off campus events.

At Hampton University, homecoming is an event in which students and alumni alike plan weeks in advance. It’s a hot topic of conversation before students even step foot on campus for the new school year. There’s something to be said about an event that sparks so much excitement so far in advance. Fashion, being a primary part of Hampton University’s culture, is taken full advantage of during homecoming week with events like the annual fashion show and students actually putting some effort into their classroom wardrobe. Hampton has always had a certain standard when it comes to dress code, and although not everyone chooses to conform to said standard on a day-to-day basis, homecoming seems to be the exception.

Campus culture and the culture of diverse student backgrounds are celebrated throughout Hampton’s homecoming week as well. Events like step shows and concerts exhibit students’ passion for music and dance and allow students to immerse themselves in a shared sense of togetherness. HBCUs emphasis on its students rather than generic school spirit or sensationalized football games is why their homecomings are something that generates excitement even amongst students at PWIs. Howard University, in particular, is known for Yardfest, an annual homecoming concert that attracts students from other colleges and universities far and wide.

HBCUs have made college homecomings something that is not only memorable but inclusive as well in terms of student-oriented events and activities. It is an experience that is almost exclusive to HBCUs, and one that has developed an atmosphere of overt excitement and anticipation over time. Hopefully, all of your tickets have been purchased and your outfits have been coordinated. #HUHC168 is almost here, and it’s certainly not something you’d want to miss.