Alabama hosts the most historically Black colleges and universities of any state.
Nine years ago, two HBCU alumni decided to make the most of the colleges’ history and alumni networks and host an annual SpringComing.
One three-day festival will take place in Birmingham March 17-19, 2023. Another will take place in New York City April 14-16, 2023.
George Peters II, of Morehouse college, and Lauren Grove, of Florida A&M University, started SpringComing in 2015.
“We just wanted to get our friends together and celebrate the fact that we were all products of historically Black colleges or universities, employed, creative and excelling in our fields,” Peters said. “We’d see each other at events, church, brunch or game nights all the time. We naturally gravitated to each other.”
What Peters expected to be a few Bluetooth speakers and picnic blankets in a park setting turned into over 1,000 RSVPs of people making travel plans to celebrate the entire weekend. Peters realized that HBCU SpringComing was bigger than just getting together on a whim. Their goal of getting together in safe and celebratory spaces garnered partnerships that helped cover educational expenses for students who wanted to attend HBCUs.
This year’s event, which includes fundraisers, mixers, networking and job opportunities, is sponsored by Indeed.
As the only festival that caters specifically to HBCU alumni, HBCU SpringComing has so far raised a total of $125,000 in scholarships for future and current HBCU students and has had over 25,000 attendees.
“This community that we lived and worked in needed to see our impact in a larger way,” said Peters. “Young people that saw us wearing our school colors needed to know that, not only was this rich legacy available for them, but we were going to help them experience it for themselves!”
“As we find ourselves getting further away from our undergraduate years, schedules don’t always allow us to go back [to campus] as frequently as we want to,” Grove said. “HBCU SpringComing is another opportunity to be home.”
While community is an important part of HBCU SpringComing, another vital component is continuing to tell the legacy and history of HBCUs. Grove and Peters said they want to make it clear that institutions need to not only be celebrated, but also should be protected.
The hard work they put into staying connected helps leverage relationships and resources to ensure the survival of HBCUs.
“Our colleagues, our friends who graduated from other schools get the opportunity to see that graduates of HBCUs are not monolithic,” said Grove. “That’s important for our communities to see, understand and support.”
All proceeds from both weekends will go toward the HBCU Puissance Scholarship Fund which was founded to aid the cost of college tuition for high school seniors in pursuit of attending an HBCU.
For more information about HBCU SpringComing, visit the event’s official website or their instagram page (@HBCUSpringComing), or contact Monique Mitchell at (770) 576-5559 (firstname.lastname@example.org).