Last week, Spelman was one of the stops for C-SPAN’s HBCU Tour. The cable television network visited campus February 12 to profile the College and help students with educational and career resources. C-SPAN profiled the top eight historically black institutions selected by U.S. News and World Report. For the eighth consecutive year, Spelman was ranked No. 1 among Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
I was volunteering with the Spelman’s Office of Communications that day and had a close-up experience! I truly enjoyed being able to be on the bus, especially because the tour was to HBCUs in honor of Black History Month. When I stepped onto the bus, I was in awe of the bus being equipped with a television studio and multiple monitors where visitors can view and interact with C-SPAN programs and websites.
During the tour, the university was featured on the Washington Journal National morning program. The program airs daily at 6 a.m. CST. Spelman College president Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum was interviewed for the show. At 9 a.m., a special tour bus parked outside the Milligan building and was opened to discuss C-SPAN’S video library content and possible internships with interested students. More than 100 students tuned in on campus to watch Dr. Tatum’s interview and tour the bus.
When President Tatum was asked about the unique conversations happening on an all-female HBCU campus, she said, “I think our students are quite concerned about the issues of our criminal justice system, and how it impacts the African American community, while the Ferguson matter has been focused often on Black men, young black men, certainly young black women are impacted as well, not they’re quite concerned, not just for themselves but for the communities they represent.”
It was great to watch and listen to President Tatum also speak to the importance for all-girls institutions.
“There’s still definitely still an important a role to be played for single sex institutions, single gender institution, so women’s colleges, well known for providing leadership opportunities,” said President Tatum.
“The reality is in a women’s environment, she has the opportunity to not only be a leader herself, but be inspired by women around her doing who she sees things she wants to do.”
Following President Tatum’s segment, I talked to two C-Span representatives who were a ball of energy and provided me insight on C-Span’s marketing program. I asked La’Shawn Saint-Preux what was her experience like interacting with the students. Saint-Preux said, “I loved interacting with the students, the admiration for the school President, and I love the close ties that Spelman students have with Morehouse and Clark. What stood out for me is the various internships and jobs that Spelman students have, in addition to a full course load. What stood out for me the most was the enthusiasm from the students.”
I also asked Vanessa Torres who described her experience on the HBCU tour bus with students and staff as a mini watch party! Indeed it was–we smiled and even cringed at some of the callers together. Nonetheless, it meant a great deal to hear people talk about Spelman so lovingly.
After volunteering, I asked Vanessa about her overall experience visiting Spelman, and she said “Our visit to Spelman College was definitely a great experience! We were able to meet many young women who were interested in C-SPAN and learning how we are a non-partisan network that gives you a window into Washington, DC! It was also neat informing students that we were there thanks to Comcast as they were our sponsor while in our week in Georgia! C-SPAN is funded through the cable industry and we serve as a public service! We had many C-SPAN fans come on board the bus and what was great was that the students were able to watch Dr. Tatum’s interview while on board the bus! One student had said her dad called into the Washington Journal and sure enough we went back to check it out and saw that her dad had called from Texas! That was really neat to watch!”
It makes me happy to know that this was not just an experience for the Spelman community, but C-Span’s representatives as well. It meant a great deal to me to be able to talk to these women who are excited about HBCUs as I am and I look forward to watching other campus president interviews such as a neighboring institution, Morehouse College.