Vashti Dorman | Staff Writer
This past week, Her Campus held its first HerHBCU Digital Conference, a three-day event packed full of workshops in partnership with the Her Campus chapters at Clark Atlanta, Howard, and North Carolina A&T. The workshops were designed to serve as a safe space for HBCU women to network and help each other grow professionally.
The first day’s events began with an opening session where Her Campus alumni described the importance of such events due to the lack of inclusion and diversity in the Her Campus national organization. Representation was a vital theme emphasized throughout the three-day event.
“Events like these are important because there’s not a lot of representation and inclusion for our community,” said Kiara Davis, the campus correspondent of the Hampton University chapter of Her Campus.
The opening session then broke off into multiple workshops that included topics such as How to Have a Great E-Board, Her Declassified Writer’s Survival Guide, Bonding, The CC Rule Book and The Content Corner. Speakers and panelists were excited to share their insight on different topics that they gained from their journeys throughout college, including the fight for the Her Campus national organization to be more inclusive.
“We want inclusion and for Her Campus to promote more HBCUs in their newsletter,” said Tamaiya Bea, the campus correspondent for the North Carolina A&T chapter of Her Campus and one of the hosts for the Spilling the Tea: The HBCU Woman’s Reality workshop. “We work really hard and never get featured.”
During the Spilling the Tea panel session, many of the panelists spoke on the need for more stock photo images featuring women of color for articles written by HBCU chapters. Most chapters result in having to use the same images for multiple articles or just having to use images that don’t represent the audience for which the chapter is typically writing.
“Her Campus does an amazing job of making members feel included, but it comes with time,” said Tiana Nichelle, campus correspondent for Hampton University’s Her Campus chapter and founder of the HerHBCU Conference. “We need more pictures with black girls,” she continued.
In addition to students, a few staff members at Her Campus Nationals were in attendance to support the event, and also take note of how they can better accommodate the various HBCU chapters.
“This is so impressive,” said Jamie Hawk, Director of Sales at Her Campus Media. “We know virtual events are not easy, and the fact that you have really built something of substance, in a time that we want to hear from you. You deserve to be heard. You do incredible work. We are so proud to be affiliated with you. We are so thrilled to support you in any way that we can.”
Day two of the event included workshops that ranged from helping young entrepreneurs elevate their brands and careers to helping students prepare for life post-grad—holding a total of 10 sessions throughout the entire day. Throughout the sessions, hosts encouraged attendees to dig deeper within themselves to find their true purpose in the world.
By the third and last day of the conference, many attendees were not only happy to get much needed tips to help expand their careers but they were also glad to have the opportunity to be able to connect with their fellow peers after months of being separated. Although they were not able to meet face-to-face, the HerHBCU event provided a way for students to connect and socialize.
“It’s been hard the past couple of months not seeing my Hampton friends, so the HerHBCU conference was definitely refreshing,” said Briana Previlon, a junior political science major at Hampton University. “Plus, I got a lot of good information I can use for other clubs I’m in.”
The HerHBCU conference was so popular and such a success that the event had to switch from Hopin, a platform created for online events and conferences, to Zoom in order to accommodate the large number of students wanting to attend. Having such a great turnout, there are plans to hold this event again next year.