A college tour changes students’ perspective

A college tour changes students’ perspective

First historically black colleges and universities tour was a success

By Viridiana Castellanos

Times Staff

Ten San Jose City College students and two counselors went on a life changing five-day tour of historically black colleges and universities.

The students were joined by 89 other Northern and Southern California Community College students from March 27 to April 1.

With the help of Educational Study Tour, counselors Meiko Daire and Rachel Hagan organized the historically black colleges and universities tour that allowed the students to tour Atlanta, Birmingham, Montgomery, Nashville, New Orleans, Tuscaloosa and Tuskegee.

Daire, Hagan and transfer director at Umoja community; Karlos Carter, described the trip as life changing, not only for the students but for themselves too.

“Through this experience, I realized the impact of being surrounded by black excellence. Visiting Morehouse and seeing the number of brothers around campus furthering their education and excelling in life really opened my eyes,” said Rita Russom, one of the students that attended the tour.

Students got the opportunity to visit historical locations such as the George Washington Carver Museum, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and even the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Site.

The trip was filled with historical sites said Carter.

“We wanted students to find the place that fits them the most,” Daire said.

Students got a warm welcoming from all the colleges they visited such as Dillard University, Xavier University, Alabama State, Tuskegee University, Clark-Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Stallman College and Fisk University.

When talking about the African-American community on the campuses Hagan said that “you can’t really explain it, it was different than being on a Cal campus.”

“This tour really allowed me to see a different world outside of California, a world that is pro black and pro black education. And in such a short amount of time I gained ambition to work harder in school,” said Brittney Hayes, a former student who got  a higher sense of pride because of the trip.

The trip allowed students to engage and be part of the educational environment that the historically black colleges offer.

“You felt like you were part of that campus,” Daire said.

Students also got the chance to apply on the spot to many of the universities; they had their transcripts with them and Alabama State University accepted eight of the SJCC students at their admissions presentation.

“Being on the tour not only showed me how magnificent and historical these colleges are, but it also gave me direct insight to an extremely different college culture. Everything about these campuses is completely different than what I’m used to,” said Brianna Jackson, a former student who attended the trip.

The tour touched students due to the connection and empowerment by the cultural infusion that the campus showed them.

This is the first time SJCC has taken students on a HBCU tour and Daire said it was a success. The counselors planned the next trip in which they will double the number of students they take. “being an African American in schools in San Jose I’m the minority,” Filmon Haile, former SJCC student said “but going to Morehouse, going to Clark university, going to Fisk I was the majority.”

The next tour will take place in the fall (October 18-October 23), applications are going to be available online in May and they are encouraging students to apply for this great experience.