By Jacinth Jones, Staff Writer
Posted 2:25 PM EST, Fri., Feb. 17, 2017
The Bison Pre-Alumni Club (BPAC), established in May 2016, is a membership-driven and student-led organization dedicated towards developing future alumni leadership amongst Howard University’s current student population.
In partnership with the Howard University Alumni Association (HUAA), BPAC is a membership driven student organization with a purpose to enforce and embrace Howard University traditions for students of the HU community and to provide support to the HUAA with special emphasis on the simulations of interests and participation of students in creating a culture of student philanthropy through programs and alumni engagement.
“This give students Howard University Bison pride in addition to realizing this club can offer a plethora of things such as scholarships and providing students with a possibility of coming out of Howard and being successful,” said Jessica Jones, BPAC’s vice president of communications.
In light of Howard’s sesquicentennial next month, BPAC has already begun initiating plans as confirmed by chair of operations Margaux Powell.
“We are putting together an event that is both a privilege for members and a service for undergraduates,” said Powell. “The focus is going to revolve around networking so that undergraduates are able to connect with alumni in the celebration of the type of people Howard creates.”
“In essence of Howard’s 150th anniversary, we are trying to install financial literacy and philanthropy to show students why donating is important in addition to being more prominent on campus,” added Virgil Parker, president of BPAC. “It is about the financial scope of HBCUs. We are modeling practices to other universities like Spelman and Morehouse that have pre-alumni clubs to implement the significance of contributing to your alma mater.”
President of HUAA and 2008 Howard graduate Nadia Pinto also shed light as to why BPAC is essential for students to be apart of.
“This organization gives HUAA a direct access to touch with students who are excited and want more from alumni. We are able to connect with them on multiple levels through mentor-mentee relationships and provide students with a support system as we build connections and other resources for students and Howard University.”
“People create opportunities for you before you realize you even wanted these opportunities,” Pinto continued. “It helps shape and mold who you are. It’s a way to find someone within in the network and an opportunity to say what you want to help your development into your career.”
BPAC serves to create opportunities for current students to start understanding the scope and the why of becoming an active alumni. Jones expressed his gratitude of being an executive of BPAC and why the organization is important.
“During my freshman year, a lot of my friends were going through the ‘purge’ and came to the realization that they were unable to afford returning or staying at Howard,” Jones said. “Many alumni don’t understand or grasp the concept of donating because they don’t see where their funds are going. I wanted to be apart of this because if you donate to BPAC, a student will be able to stay at Howard and have the best four years of their life.
“We want to show alumni to give back to the school that continues to give to not those that graduated but are here.”
Leon Field, chair of BPAC’s recruitment, said, “BPAC is a positive light that is not hidden. It’s not something you have to dig deep to find. People get connected with alumni and feel the bison pride. It has helped me as a student to be a positive person.”
“If we come together and be really proud of Howard and what it’s done for us, we can make it better and further Howard’s longevity,” said Powell.
BPAC has already displayed their presence on campus with various events, including collaborating with Howard University Homecoming Committee, Howard University Student Association Senate, and the College of Arts and Sciences ‘Limitless’ Student Council held last semester, in addition to a new monthly community and service initiative for this semester.
Most events BPAC hosts will have membership openings without an application or selective process. There are currently almost 200 members and the club hopes to receive a further intake within the next few months by possibly having Alternative Spring Break participants automatically enrolled as BPAC members, along with a ‘first year free’ membership for freshmen.