Before homecoming activities at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) unfolded across the country this fall, Andscape senior HBCU editor Tasha Stewart collaborated with the platform’s senior HBCU reporter Mia Berry on an alumni video series.
The short clips, available on @andscape social media handles, answer one important question: Why did you select your HBCU?
Various ESPN and Andscape commentators are among those replying, including Pro Football Hall Of Famer and First Take contributor Shannon Sharpe – who is visiting his alma mater Savannah (Ga.) State today as part of First Take’s HomeComing remote shows this week; ESPN WNBA reporter Terrika Foster-Brasby, who attended St. Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina; and Andscape senior writer William Rhoden, an alum of Morgan State in Baltimore.
ESPN play-by-play commentator Tiffany Greene (Florida A&M), ESPNFC soccer analyst Shaka Hislop (Howard) and North Carolina Central University head men’s basketball coach LeVelle Moton also contributed.
Stewart, a graduate of the Howard University, spoke with Front Row about the experience.
How did you come up with the concept?
Mia Berry is the one who had the original idea. She wanted to talk to HBCU alums, both inside and outside of ESPN, about their experience and why they chose their HBCU. We wanted to package the videos during homecoming season because we were developing a lot of homecoming content. Instead of a written piece, I suggested we ask participants to either record audio or video because we could use that content on our social media accounts.
In putting this together, did you have a certain number of participants you wanted to cover?
Ideally, we were targeting a minimum of five because I figured it would give us one testimonial every day of the week leading up to homecoming festivities. We started brainstorming who we wanted to ask, and I suggested a mix of recognizable names.
What do you think of the responses you received?
You could hear the pride and affection each of the alums has for their respective HBCUs. Just hearing about how different the experiences were for everyone, but also, there was this communal thread of HBCU love that connects us all.
As a Howard grad, what was your favorite part of homecoming?
My favorite part of homecoming was the energy that took over the yard. It was a sense of community, fellowship, and just positive energy.