Wilson hosts first HBCU college fair

Charlotte Guy and Emily Mulderig

Pumping music, dozens of eager students, 10 college representatives, and palpable excitement. Wilson’s first-ever Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) fair was held earlier this fall, on October 6. 

The event, which was held from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Aux Gym, was organized by Brandon Wims, the Coordinator of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism. Wims is an HBCU graduate himself and always wanted Wilson to hold a college fair specifically for HBCUs. 

The HBCUs represented at the event included UDC; Florida A&M University; Bowie State University; University of Maryland, Eastern Shore; Delaware State; Lincoln University; Virginia State; and Bennett College.

Junior Sanai Anderson has always wanted to attend an HBCU since her parents both went to Hampton University. “My top schools right now are HBCUs. So I kind of wanted to just go look at [the fair]. And I also heard that Spelman was coming, which is one of my top HBCUs,” she said. 

Anderson said the positive environment made the event extra meaningful. “In all honesty, it was really great to be just around Black people,” she said. “The music they had, the encouragement from the teachers. The students were running it, so a lot of my friends were there.”

Marie May, a Wilson senior, was one of such students running the fair. She was responsible for cataloging the students that came in and giving them a form to express which colleges they were interested in. 

May explained that since very few HBCUs send representatives to the College and Career Center, many Black students interested in attending an HBCU feel disadvantaged. 

“Other than the internet, [Black students] don’t really have access to resources to learn about HBCUs. And obviously, if you want to go to FAMU, you’re not going to take two flights to Florida for the day to come back,” she said.

May suspects this is why so many students took advantage of the fair. “It was super crowded because everyone wanted to come. I’d say there were at least 200 people who came in total,” she said. 

Senior Eason Sloley-Mitchell heard about the event from a friend and enjoyed learning more about the different colleges there. “It was pretty interesting. I liked seeing the different HBCUs. I hadn’t really saw most of them that were at the event, and I actually got to learn a little bit about those HBCUs,” he said. 

After attending the fair, Sloley-Mitchell added some of the schools he had learned about to his college list because he was able to get “a more in-depth view on the schools.” 

In the future, Anderson hopes the list of HBCUs will be expanded—specifically HBCUs in the south—since many of the colleges in attendance were from the DC region.

Luckily, it seems that after the fair more HBCUs will be visiting Wilson. Elizabeth Levenson,  the College and Career Service Coordinator, said, “In my experience, just from the beginning of this year, it did seem like HBCUs did not traditionally sign up through Naviance to visit [the College and Career Center], but since the HBCU fair happened, two HBCUs have signed up to visit [through Naviance].” •