The recent White House initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Conference Week (Sep 21-22) was a gathering of institutions, organizations, agencies, and supporters committed to academic excellence and sustainable growth for African American institutions of higher learning. Government officials, college and university presidents, as well as student leaders gathered from around the world for the cause of HBCU advancement. There was an undeniable electric sense of hope in the air during the event. In spite of financial hardships, HBCU’s continue to produce first class scholars in fields such as STEM, Medicine, and Liberal Arts.
The conference is more than just an annual gathering. It represents a movement that will poise our nation to better compete in the global economy. During an intimate conversation with this year’s HBCU All-Stars, Secretary Arne Duncan encouraged us to return to our campuses and our homes with a mission to invest in our educational communities as agents of change.
Vice-President Biden continued the same sentiment in his speech as he reminded us of the unique privileges that extend far beyond the classroom for HBCU students. HBCUs, he said, help build character, produce great leaders, and instill hope.
It is truly my honor to be selected amongst my fellow scholars as a 2015-16 Student Ambassador for the White House Initiative on HBCUs. I am excited to not only represent the Interdenominational Theological Center, but also continue the legacy of promoting educational excellence, sustainable growth and social consciousness for our academic communities. Through this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, we are given the chance to being the change we desire to see, and using our education and experiences to better our campuses, communities, and ultimately the world.
Nathalie Nelson is a 2015-2016 HBCU All-Star and attends the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Ga.