Over 20 representatives from Historically Black Colleges and Universities will be at St. Peter’s AME Church in South Minneapolis on Monday, January 16 — Martin Luther King Jr.’s Holiday — from 3-6 pm. Sponsored by St. Peter’s in partnership with AchieveMpls and other local organizations, the third annual HBCU College Fair is free for high school students and families to explore college options and take part in various entertainment activities.
St. Peter’s AME Church is at 401 E. 41st Street, Minneapolis.
“Minnesota is not a traditional recruiting market,” states AchieveMpls Community Engagement and Partnerships Director Marika Pfefferkorn. Her organization is a faith-based initiative created to support Minneapolis Public Schools students and has been holding such events for the past three years — an estimated 600 persons attended last year’s college fair, she noted.
Historically Black Colleges and Universities — there are 105 such schools, mainly located in the south and eastern part of the country — are both public and private colleges, two-year and four-year institutions, medical schools and community colleges.
“We traditionally have a high number of African American students attend HBCUs,” continues Pfefferkorn, “but we don’t have a real high number of students from Minnesota attend HBCUs, whether it is because it is so far away or they just don’t have any experience in their family with them. It is truly a viable option, not only for African American students but for all [students].
“It’s more than just learning about HBCUs,” says Pfefferkorn. “It’s being able [for students] to see themselves as a potential candidate for HBCUs.”
Pfefferkorn notes that many Black young people might want “a full immersion in the African American experience because you don’t have that here in Minnesota. Their families might have come from the South or may have attended a HBCU, but they have been up here in Minnesota.”
HBCUs can provide “a cultural immersion for African American students, or a cultural immersion for [other] students of color or White students who want to get another perspective,” explains Pfefferkorn who says this year’s theme is “College Access for All.” These schools provide a “good, affordable, strong academic rigor,” she continues.
“While they have a rich history in educating African Americans, (HBCUs) help students that are first-generation college bound in that transition from high school that a lot of the larger schools just can’t even focus on or emphasize. You also have African American faculty who have work experience in the field that you might want [as well],” Prefferkorn says. She adds that HBCUs also are reaching out to new immigrant students “or to people who have not naturally had the privilege of getting a good education.”
More importantly, representatives from such schools as Spelman College, Hampton, Alabama A&M, Howard, Fisk and Johnson C. Smith, who are among the HBCUs expecting to attend next Monday’s event “are students who attended and are alumni of HBCUs,” surmises Prefferkorn. “We have some of the well-known (HBCUs) but we’re also trying to introduce some of those smaller [schools].”
Students also can use Skype with other HBCU admissions officers and students around the country to get information on campus life, admission and scholarship opportunities, she adds. Bishop Gregory Ingram of the 10th Episcopal District of the AME Church is the keynote speaker. A steppers dance team from Minneapolis Henry High School is among the entertainment, and KMOJ-FM is scheduled to broadcast live from the event next Monday.
Food and door prizes will be featured as well. “We anticipate this is going to be a well-attended event, and people are going to find value in coming,” concludes Prefferkorn.
For more information, contact AchieveMpls at 612-455-1566 or Career & College Center Director Arnise Roberson at email@example.com.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.