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Those who have experienced an HBCU homecoming understand the assignment. College students, alumni, and family of an Historically Black College and University gather and partake in the excitement of celebrating the heritage and culture of the school. It's a time of joy, honoring traditions, and for some, reflecting on the good ol' days. Homecoming weekends are spent eating well, laughing plenty, and enjoying the sights; and there is plenty to see, do, and EAT! (Spoiler alert: Sleep is not on the syllabus.)
Ain't no party like an HBCU party! No matter if you're young, seasoned, alumni or a visitor, there is fun to be had all weekend for everyone involved!
As we just mentioned, you'll want to get plenty of rest in the days prior because there is little to no sleep taking place during Homecoming Week. From the early morning parade, concerts, and late-night parties to hanging out at the local waffle house parking lot for hours on end, you won't want to miss a beat.
This is not a drill. Pro tip: If you don't have a crew living on or near campus already, book your hotel early! Prices can get steep, and they sell out months before the big weekend - the closer your hotel, the more sleep you can get in between parties! Speaking of that crew, you'll want to make sure you travel with fellow HBCU-lovers; people who share your interests and can bring the comedic flavor and go-with-the-flow attitude you need to make the weekend even better.
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One cannot adequately do the HBCU experience justice without the mentioning of Greek life - The Divine Nine. Considering the inception, mission, and purpose of one of these Greek organization, you can't help but be in awe! If there's a homecoming step show, put it on your must-do list. You'll surely catch members strolling at the parade or the tailgate. It's Black magic and excellence at its finest! The culture alone that Black Greek organizations bring to HBCUs is nothing short of amazing, especially when you consider graduate chapters' legacy and impact on the Black community.
The Homecoming Game itself is a sight to see, especially if the band is on point! Yes, the football team will be exciting to watch with the abundance of talent on the field, but it's the band and dancers that get the crowd hype. The high-energy showmanship with arrangements of the classics and latest music accompanied by intricate routines from the majorettes and dance team, are the heartbeat of the game.
Last, but certainly not least, is the tailgate experience. Alumni groups, organizations like fraternities and sororities, and residents of the town pay a fee to rent a space and put up a large tent or set up their trailer for entertainment purposes. Once settled in, the culinary adventures begin. The scent of charcoal and fried foods carries you down a musical path of tunes as DJs do their thing. This can very well be an all-day affair if you find a tent to post under. No exaggeration, it's like a reunion of thousands of cousins. Your entertainment options are endless so be sure to take it all in so you can enjoy every minute!
*Due to the recent surges of COVID-19 cases, select HBCU homecoming sanctioned events have been rescheduled or are TBD. If this is impacting your school or if you just feel more comfortable staying home, you can still have the best time. Get dressed up, host a virtual watch party, or invite your quarantine crew over for a day filled with what homecoming is really all about: football, family and food.
Remember, playing it safe has its perks too!
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