My First HBCU Homecoming Experience

I didn’t graduate from an HBCU. I attended Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA but I graduated from Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA and Houston Community College in Houston, TX. I don’t knock HBCUs I just chose to not go back to one after I left SU. I don’t advocate for or against HBCUs or other colleges or universities. I feel you go where ever you want to go for whatever reason that suits you. I just chose to go a different route and it’s been great for me.

I’ve been noticing on my social media platforms the excitement about homecomings both high school and colleges. I didn’t get the hype and still don’t but it’s fun to see others enjoying themselves. I’m sure I probably enjoyed homecoming in high school by attending the dances and participating in the activities. Once I graduated and moved to Houston, I don’t recall ever going back to attend one.

In college, I was never the partying type. My mother was very strict on me and I think her ghost, although she was alive then, followed me there. Or I just didn’t have the desire to attend a lot of parties and go out all the time. During my time at Southern, there were lots of protests going on. There was upset in Haiti and the infamous OJ Simpson trial was going on. There was a lot for a sheltered girl from a small town to take in. But parties just didn’t really excite me. I’d rather be home studying or reading a book. I was there for 2 years and don’t recall attending any homecoming festivities.

I was chatting with a friend and remarked that I don’t see what all the hype is about. He tells me that’s probably because I didn’t attend an HBCU and that I’ve never been to their homecoming festivities. I agreed with him; you can never understand what you haven’t experienced. So he invites me to Prairie View’s Homecoming this past weekend. I was kinda excited; I wanted to see what all the hype was about.

Me and my travel buddy, Kaniecia, head out to PV early Saturday morning. It’s not a long drive and the weather was pretty decent on the way there. When we arrive there is no clear direction of where to go or where to park. The main road is blocked due to the parade going on. We see a lot of people parking by the Dollar General store so we park over there. I’m trying to contact my friend who invited us but I know he may be tied up with things for his frat. We have no idea where we’re going and how to get there. Once we get close to the campus, we see lots going on with folks trying to find parking, there are traffic jams everywhere and we have no clue where my friend is. Someone directs us to the tailgating area where we see rows and rows of RVs. I’m thinking to myself that folks leave their homes to camp out for days during homecoming. Not the most comfortable accommodations I would think although some of those RVs looked really nice.

We finally meet up with him and hang out with his frat for a bit. My cousin, Vera, is there as well to hang out with her in-laws who are faithful tailgaters. They are alumni of PV. The weather by this point is extremely hot and I’m hungry. It’s hard to find decent food sometimes in public settings like these when you’re a pescatarian. The walk from my friend’s tailgating area to where my cousin was tailgating was an extremely long walk. We have to walk by the stadium where there are thousands of people who are just standing in the way and won’t move.

If you invite your friends who haven’t attended an HBCU to a homecoming at an HBCU, you must school them on what they need to do. Here are a few points that would have helped me out:
• Give them an overview of the festivities. Let them know how the day may play out.
• Please give them clear directions for parking and how to get to you. Draw a map if you can.
• Tell them to prepare a homecoming survival kit especially if they eat a special diet. That kit should include: towels for all the sweating they will do, snacks until the food gets ready, water bottles to stay hydrated, cellphone charger because your phone will die quicker due to bad reception and cash because not all vendors take debit or credit cards.
• If they are Greek, please tell them they can wear their gear. I saw plenty of my AKA Sorors and was asked repeatedly where was my gear.

Overall it was a pretty decent time. I was able to get the HBCU experience and have some fun. I’m still don’t see what all the hype is about but I’m willing to give the experience another shot. Maybe next year, I will attend another HBCUs homecoming festivities just to see if I get the bug too.

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