By Arelia Johnson, Campus Staff Writer
Posted 8:38 PM EST, Mon., Sept. 5, 2016
There is no one way to describe Howard University just as there is no one way to describe her beauty. Since 1867, this institution has produced some of the brightest figures in American history, graduated scores of doctors and lawyers, and made contributions to the black professional class. This fall, another cohort will be added to the university’s legacy and incoming freshmen will grace the campus with their style, curiosity, diverse backgrounds, and eagerness to submerge themselves in the experience affectionately known as “The Mecca.”
But what is there to do on campus besides hunt for parties and step shows? After the presidential address to incoming students, freshmen are encouraged to attend fall opening convocation on Friday, Sept. 23 at 11:00 a.m. in the Cramton Auditorium. This event serves as the official opening of the academic year and has featured speakers like Congressman John Lewis, Howard President Wayne A.I. Frederick and Rushern L. Baker III, County Executive, Prince George’s County. New students are able to hear the hymn of the institution, put names to faces of university faculty and staff, and intermingle with their fellow Bison.
Moving toward the middle of the fall semester and after a much needed break from midterms, homecoming activities will commence starting with “A Day of Service” on Oct. 1. All incoming students are invited to participate in service learning projects while living up to the university’s motto: In Truth and Service. The campus will then pay homage to the hub of the black Greek experience by hosting a stroll off on Oct. 8th, then a pep rally on Oct. 18, followed by the “International” Yardfest and greek step show on Oct. 21. Campus festivities will culminate with the homecoming game on Oct. 22 against the North Carolina A&T Aggies. Before you know it, the semester will have concluded and the Charter Day celebration will begin.
This year, the university will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the school’s charter and in recent years, speakers like author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates have been invited to give the keynote address. Last year, Coates spoke of his experience at Howard and said, “I was experiencing the beauty of a heritage, going way, way back that put a pressure on me, a kind of responsibility. Beauty is not free.”
Alumni travel from across the nation to attend the ceremony and to be part of the history and beauty Coates speaks of and to commemorate the inception of our institution. This place, our place, was created for students who want to see, feel and experience themselves while simultaneously contributing to the rich legacy that is Howard. And in commemoration of that experience commencement punctuates the academic year by providing the Bison family a moment to pause and reflect on excellence and achievement.
At first, it will seem like the semester is moving at a snail’s pace, but before you know it you will be up to your eyelids in the culture and traditions that make Howard University a mecca and something beautifully historic to be a part of.