Stephanie Tate | Correspondent
Homecoming is time of joy, laughs, and an excessive amount of Wolfpack pride. Amidst the issues of cultural and racial insensitivity on our campus I felt as though it was time that we analyze both our past and our future as African American students here at NC State.
Homecoming provided the perfect opportunity to do so as many black alumni had returned just in time for many of the Black Alumni Society events. Homecoming weekend was filled with a number of events catered to create a family atmosphere among black alumni, however one of the events with the most familial atmosphere was the tailgate.
On Saturday Oct. 31, three hours prior to kick off of the homecoming football game the Black Alumni Society, along with their umbrella organization the NC State Alumni Association, hosted their annual tailgate. The tailgate included food catered by Backyard Bistro, a live band called Sleeping Booty, and a ton of laughter. A bystander might have mistaken the tailgate for a family reunion, I know I sure did.
While interacting with some of the alumni, I was afforded the opportunity to observe how much of a pack members of the Black Alumni Society actually are. With that being said, the society is looking to increase the size of their pack.
President, Carmita Bass, a 2005 accounting graduate, said “we would love to see more young alumni and pass the torch.” Bass noted that young alumni add creative and innovative ideas, while the society provides young alumni with wonderful networking opportunities. During her time at NC State, Bass was no stranger to student involvement. She served as student body treasurer, a chancellor’s aide, a peer mentor, and a chancellor’s liaison to name a few. Watching Bass float around the tailgate and interact with guests was almost a magical experience.
She is passionate about the society, its members, and the opportunities that the society provides. In the midst of line jackets from a variety of years, and vintage NC State paraphernalia, were the young alumni.
“The connections I’ve made helped me transition from undergrad to graduate school and the Facebook group keeps me updated on the community events,” said Lauren Evans, who received both her undergraduate degree in fashion and textile management and most recently a Master’s degree in global luxury management from NC State said NC State prepared her for both the graduate program and now the professional world.
Kendal Hudson, a 2013 mechanical engineering graduate, wants to see more young alumni getting involved in the Black Alumni Society.
“Being an engineering graduate from NC State puts you a step ahead, it sets you apart.”
Material Science and Engineering graduate, Leodis Jennings of the 1983 class, said of the many lessons he learned while being at NC State is perseverance and problem solving skills. Jennings pronounced “It wasn’t easy” when recalling his experience as a student here. He encourages students to cherish their time here, remember that NC State will prepare you to be successful, and learn how to get along with others.
“Build relationships, because you cannot do it by yourself,” Jennings said.
Felecia Keenan, a 2011 English graduate, offered similar words of wisdom. Keenan wants students to remember that you will “earn” your degree at NC State and to be aware of the support system around them.
“It easy to get distracted, your chances of failure are greater than those of success, but remain focused. There is a lot of support at State, including mentorships through the Black Alumni Society.”
Among the mouthwatering banana pudding, the old school jams, and the bomb sweet tea sat those who have already been in our shoes looking to extend to us words of wisdom and helping hands. The Black Alumni Society is filled with former students with experiences similar to our own, willing to be resources if only we’d allow them to be.
Being a part of the Wolfpack is a lifetime commitment and it does not end once we turn our tassels in PNC, in fact that step is just the beginning.