About this Blog

The title of this blog, "I'm About to do My Thing," was inspired by Jill Scott's introduction to her poem "The Thickness" from her live album Experience: Jill Scott 826+. In this intro, she warns that the content to follow is "real" and proceeds to deliver a beautiful message about self-esteem in young black girls, what can influence and damage that self-esteem, and the entire village's responsibility--"it takes a village"--to elevate its children.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Reppin' Our HBCUs' Nerds

I remember when Dr. Iyegha mentioned the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC) in Honors Geography during my freshman year in undergrad. I immediately became excited by the idea that I could BE A NERD with a team again! See, I am a nerd--and proud. Ever since I was in elementary school and got a taste of Knowledge Bowl, I knew that I had a thing for pressing a buzzer and answering questions, exercizing all the "useless" information I had in my brain. That progressed to Scholars' Bowl in high school and then to HCASC in college.

Me (left) after a game with my teammate (and twin) during our senior year
HCASC is an academic competition program, sponsored by American Honda Motor Co., that pits 48 teams from our nation's historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) against each other every spring. Teams buzz in and answer questions on any subject you can imagine. Think Jeopardy! This year's national championship tournament marked the 23rd year of the program. Having played all 4 years of my undergraduate career and having volunteered with the program for the past 3 years, I am so thankful that this awesome program still continues, promoting scholastic rigor and creating "Friends for Life"--the program's tagline that might sound cheesy but is so real.

To say that I get sentimental about this program and all those who make it happen is an understatement, which is why I was so disappointed to see a silly argument about the program's being "racist"in the comment section of this promotional video on YouTube:

  1. The term racism indicates the superiority of one race over another. How is this the case when a) HBCUs are not "all-black" and b) are not barred to any race? Anyone who checks out the team photos will see all the colors of the rainbow represented at the competition--and thus in its participating institutions.
  2. It's not as if HCASC is the only program that gives our nation's nerds a chance to showcase their brain-skills. HCASC began in 1989 and is a College Bowl company. As the HCASC website states, "In 1989, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. approached the College Bowl Company and asked them to create a special version of its world-reknowned game for America's Historically Black Colleges and Universities." College Bowl goes all the way back to the 1950's with a radio-broadcast competition, and the first televised tourney was in 1978.
  3. Both College Bowl and HCASC participants have benefited greatly from these programs, as millions of dollars have been granted to institutions in each program. Beyond the financial institutional grants, these competitions offer wonderful networking opportunities and the enjoyment of nerds locked in intellectual battle.
I want to take this opportunity to shift the attention to the coaches, players, and teachers who keep getting students into this program. I especially want to shout-out the volunteers who take time off work and away from their families each year strictly because they love what this program represents and enjoy helping the students experience an amazing few days each year. A hearty thanks goes to American Honda, College Bowl, NAFEO, and ACUI for continuing to believe in this endeavor and promoting academic achievement in our HBCUs. To all of you and my fellow alumni, let's continue to show that this program cannot be reduced to a fallacious "argument" about racism. Let's keep doing what we've been doing for the last 23 years, for as long as we can, and spread the word. Nerds unite!

1 comment:

  1. Look how young you guys look! I had such a great time with you ladies.