Traditions are what make pursuing higher education vibrant for both students and faculty. Tradition is rooted in history for every school and invites students into the family year after year. HBCU traditions help make up what life is like while attending school. Some traditions are what schools are known for, like the famed Yardfest at Howard University. We’ve picked a few HBCUs with impressive campus customs that we love.
Howard University is known for its outstanding academic presence, boasting one of the best business programs in the United States. It’s also known for Yardfest, an annual Homecoming event that draws fans from all over the nation. Despite hosting performances by some of hip-hop’s biggest names, Yardfest remains a free event. One of the most memorable Yardfests was in 2012, when 2 Chainz shocked everyone by bringing out none other than Drake. Not long after, Meek Mill and T.I. also joined the stage and surprised the crowd. With the football game, parade, and world-renowned events like the Gospel Concert and the Step Show, Howard’s Homecoming is the real deal!
The Spelman Arch
Spelman College has one of the most special HBCU rituals for their graduates and alumni alike. With all participants dressed in white on Class Day, alumni walk ahead of the senior class through the Spelman Arch. As new graduates walk through the arch, it is symbolic of them leaving Spelman and beginning a new life of service in the real world. As one of the Atlanta HBCUs, the women of Spelman are considered “Spelman women” whereas the graduates of Morehouse College are called “Morehouse men.”
Grambling Vs. Southern—The Bayou Classic
A renowned HBCU rivalry between Grambling State University and Southern University has made The Bayou Classic the biggest game of the year. The Tigers and the Jaguars have been battling it out for over 40 years, with their 45th annual game in 2018. This HBCU college tradition is huge, bringing in hundreds of thousands of visitors to New Orleans and boosting the local economy. Talk about showing love to the community!
The Greatest Homecoming on Earth—NC A&T
This HBCU college tradition is legendary. Nicknamed “The Greatest Homecoming on Earth,” North Carolina A&T State University’s Homecoming tradition is a jam-packed week of student and alumni events. It has become so popular that it has its own app. From step battles, comedy shows, and one exciting parade, to the hyped Aggie Homecoming game and concert, it’s a time to all out celebrate. In 2018, NC A&T slotted a star-studded line-up, including Cardi B, 2 Chainz, Ella Mai, and Lil Baby!