The buzz around historically black colleges and universities is at an all-time high as graduates are finding creative ways to build awareness about their preservation. One of them is Andres Martin. The Howard University graduate student is the founder and CEO of A. Martin & Industries and the esteemed HBCU Night.
The annual event kicked off Feb. 8 at the Barclay’s Center with over 500 HBCU Alumni, prospective college students, and other community leaders in attendance. By popular demand, the sold-out event has now morphed into a nationwide tour with stops in Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Los Angeles. Aside from all of the networking and homecoming-like vibes, HBCU Night programming includes a black college fair for students; diversity and inclusion workshops; executive panels; and live entertainment.
BLACK ENTERPRISE spoke with Martin about the tour and the impact it has on the black community. Here’s everything you need to know!
As an HBCU grad, what inspires you most about the work you do?
As an EMBA [executive MBA] at Howard University, I take pride in growing as a professional, a community partner, and as a scholar with developing profound erudition. I get my inspiration from the executives speaking on the panel, the mentoring from fellow HBCU Alum, and the ambition from the prospective college scholars. It is incredible to see the amount of talent and solidarity that is displayed at the night, and I’m excited to see what the future holds.
What impact does HBCU night have on the community it serves?
HBCUs themselves have been a staple in the Black Communities since 1837. HBCU Night continuously serves as a utility for high school students from the lower socioeconomic areas of the inner city. We organize moderated panel discussions with prominent figures and executives who lead the youth into a positive direction with guidance.The multifaceted initiative has also served as admissions resources, scholarship resources, career services, alumni chapter fundraisers that contribute to scholarships and highlights impactful initiatives, charities, and leaders in the community. The impact it has had on the community overall has been tremendous as we have mentoring that promotes anti-crime and elements that produce more scholars for betterment of the economic statuses in the communities we serve. With that said we will continue to set the standard high for all stakeholders involved and continue to grow as a community.
How many students have gone on to pursue their education at HBCU’s after being inspired by your group?
With follow-ups from each nonprofit organization such as Shawn Carter Foundation, I AM C.U.L.T.U.R.E.D. Inc., Mission EduCare, we’ve learned that an average rate 72% of students go on to pursue higher education at an HBCU. This number for us is important to increase as our goal is to highlight the benefits of attending an HBCU, the HBCU experience, and resources an HBCU Scholar can obtain from pursuing a degree at an HBCU.
Our hat is off to Martin for bearing the torch for HBCUs! To learn more about the next stop on the tour check out the flyer below.