My Black Experience at VCU

*The views expressed in this article are the writer's own and not indicative of the views of Her Campus or Her Campus at VCU*

Growing up in a predominantly white area, I never thought that I would want to attend a historically black college/university when it came time to apply to schools. Don’t get me wrong - I love being black and (almost) everything that comes with it, but I was so closed-minded and I always thought that I would be an outcast, or would not fit in. For most of my life, I had never been in an environment that was solely black, or even majority, and growing up I always felt myself to be “not black enough." In fact, it took me going to a Predominantly White Institution for me to realize that being surrounded by people that look like me would have instead been a positive impact. VCU is a diverse school, no one can argue with that (it’s generally accepted to be our claim to fame), but I feel like there are a few places where we lack. 

The first, which is not necessarily the school’s fault, is the fact that I feel there is no concrete black community. This was especially important to me when looking for a school because it was something I felt that I missed out greatly on during my time in the northern Virginia public school system. I feel like there is generally a lack of participation in black events/organizations, and it just feels like everyone is spread apart instead of coming together as a community. The only black communities that seem to be there for one another are the Greeks and the track team. 

No one can deny that VCU is a diverse school, but the lack of diversity among our professors and faculty pales in comparison to the student body. It feels like the only people that work here that look like me work in food service, maintenance or security. It also feels like the only black professors that I have seen teach in the African American studies department. We all know by now that representation is important, and I think that it is just as important to have multicultural leaders and professors as it is to have representation in movies and books. Having people that look like you in higher places can give you someone to look up to as well as someone that can relate to you if you are having issues. Role models are so important, especially in an environment where black students can feel easily discouraged by the pressures of college. 

Now, I am not saying that we should all separate ourselves based on the color of our skin, as diversity is what makes VCU so great, but I believe having a community that black kids can always rely on and come back to is so important to our growth as black men and women. Though I’ve only been here less than a year, I have definitely enjoyed my time, and I do not really see myself transferring schools anytime soon, but I feel like some of these things needed to be said. The future is bright, and I know that things can only get better from here.

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