syracuse university

Gallup Study Tries To Compare HBCU & PWI Experiences


Oh, the beloved HBCU versus PWI experience debate. Never did I think a research company would go so far as to analytically compare the two, but alas, here we are. 

According to a new report released by Gallup, graduates from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have a "higher sense of well-being" compared to those black graduates who attended predominantly white institutions. (PWIs)

The data shows that out of the five points of well-being (purpose, social, financial, community, and physical) those students who attended HBCUs ranked higher (just by a few points) by their peers who attended PWIs.

But here's where I see a problem in these data findings: Gallup polled a total of *55,812 adults who received degrees between 1940 and 2015, but this specific report included 1,758 graduates from PWIs and only 520 graduates from HBCUs. I don't know much about algebra, but with that initial sample, there were already going to be very skewed results.

Also, I think that Gallup failed to precisely define well-being. If I graduated from college in May 2014, I'm going to probably be feeling myself a little bit different compared to someone who graduated college in 1984. But I let them rock though. 

Now don't get me wrong - I have the utmost respect and admiration for historically black colleges and universities and what they represent. I have a host of family members and friends who attended HBCUs for undergraduate and graduate studies and loved every minute of their experience. But truth be told, there were many times during my years at 'Cuse where we definitely turned up and it felt like an HBCU (G.U.F weekend, I see you.)

Believe it or not, in the spring of my senior year of high school, I vividly remember having to choose between Syracuse and Spelman College. And while I probably I would've enjoyed my experience as a Spelman woman, I knew deep down that Syracuse was going to give me the well-rounded experience that I knew my high school had prepared me for.

Truthfully, your college experience is what you make it. While I can only speak for myself, attending Syracuse University has definitely given me a stronger sense of well-being and confidence, a great network of friends who have become family, and a host of mentors who have supported me from the time I walked on campus until now.

Yes, growing up and watching shows like A Different World and movies like Drumline definitely did cause me to wonder what life would be like attending an all black college. And after attending North Carolina A&T's Homecoming celebration (GHOE) last weekend, I totally understand why there is so much pride from alumni who have attended HBCUs.

But at the end of the day, I made my choice to attend a PWI not only for the financial aid package and my major, but because I knew that the world after college was going to be full of people who didn't necessarily always look like me. And again, that isn't meant to shade HBCUs and what they stand for, it's just the way of the world.

I think studies like this can be problematic because they raise an unnecessary argument that tries to compare apples to oranges. Attending a school with 22,000 students in a suburban area versus a school with 10,000 students in a metropolitan area will more often times than not going to yield a different experience.

Additionally, there are many more intricacies to the college experience that go beyond Gallup's factors of "decade of graduation, student loan debt and parents' education." Each student is going to have a different situation, and that can't simply be measured by purpose, community involvement or physical well-being. The values that were instilled in me and lessons learned at Syracuse are no doubt going to be different from someone who attended Howard or Hampton. Moral of the story: each institution has groomed us to be stand-up global citizens, so rep' your set and do good for the world!

And while 'swag-surfing' may not be apart of my school's traditional DNA, when the vale of Onondaga meets the eastern sky, I know sway from left to right too.

Let me know your thought bubbles in the comments below!

Oh yeah...and GO ORANGE! ;-)


Why I'm So Proud (And Grateful) To Be Orange


Last night was MAD real.  If you follow me on social media, you saw that I had returned to my beloved alma mater, Syracuse University. Since I've graduated four years ago, I've been back to campus quite a few times, but this was definitely the most special of them all.

Each year to welcome the incoming freshman class, the Division of Student Affairs puts together an awesome production called Home To The Dome. Basically, it's a pep rally to hype up the newest members of #OrangeNation and welcome them to the family. From learning the fight song and alma mater to repping their respective residence halls, the freshmen get their first taste of what it really means to have Orange Pride.

This year, a handful of Generation Orange alumni were invited back to share stories on their defining Orange moments. I was lucky enough to be a part of this special group, and share my special moment that took place in The Dome almost five years ago.

Now, I'm not sharing this experience to boast or brag - I just REALLY love my school and completely appreciated my college experience. The four years I spent at SU not only molded me into the woman that I am today, but it also brought some of the most wonderful people into my life that I'm so thankful to call family. The one piece of advice that I shared with the Class of 2019 is to be purposeful in leaving their mark on Syracuse University. For me, my mark will forever be standing on that 50 yard line among thousands of football fans and being crowned the first black homecoming queen in 16 years.

Photo: Stephen Sartori

But that moment was about so much more getting the crown, learning SU history and campaigning for votes. It was about the people who had helped me get to that point, and truly understanding what it means to be apart of a community that wants you to succeed. Furthermore, it's about sewing seeds into that community, and making sure that you're always giving back and not expecting anything in return.

I can only hope that the 3000+ students that were in The Dome yesterday really take their time at SU and run like the wind with it. Andor those who have been out of school for a while like myself, find a way to support your alma mater outside of homecoming, football and basketball season. (Donating money counts too!)

To my dearest Syracuse, thank you for the awesome opportunities and countless memories you have (and continue) to give me. I'm so happy to call you home.