Wiley junior Andre Earls traveled to Washington, D.C., this fall as a part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (WHIHBCUs). During his busy week of attending conferences to discuss the significance and future of historically black colleges and universities, he participated in a pinning event where he was officially named as an HBCU All-Star.
A mass communications major from Norwalk, Connecticut, Earls is part of the newly minted 73-member class of HBCU All-Stars from 63 HBCUs that had the opportunity to network with government agencies such as the Department of Transportation, Homeland Security and the Peace Corps, and be in the presence of national leaders such as Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Education John King.
"The secretary of education spoke with us about the importance of having strong African -American role models in communities, and how such role models influenced his career," Earls said.
The Wiley HBCU All-Star said the most impactful thing he learned at the conference was the funding statistics for HBCUs across the country.
"They really stressed the importance of funding to us," Earls said. "I learned that Harvard, the top institution in the U.S., has a $32 billion endowment, and the endowments from the top seven HBCUs combined is $1.7 billion. In order for HBCUs to survive, we must increase fundraising efforts that in return will help increase our endowments."
While at the conference, the HBCU All-Stars also had the opportunity to attend a leadership meeting to discuss networking opportunities.
The Wiley junior said in the network meeting he learned risk to reward ratio, and the importance of capitalizing on opportunities no matter how small they may seem initially.
In his return to Wiley, Earls said he hopes to use the knowledge he gained from his "eye opening" experience in D.C., with his number one initiative being increasing funds through securing more scholarship opportunities for Wiley students.
Each year, the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges selects a group of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students to serve as ambassadors providing outreach opportunities and communications to the student bodies at their respective institutions about the value of education. The HBCU All-Stars program began in 2014 and is a part of the White House's 2020 Goal of having the world's highest proportion of college graduates by the year 2020.
In photo, Wiley junior Andre Earls receives his official White House HBCU All-Star Pin from Dr. Kim Hunter Reed, the Acting Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, during HBCU week in Washington, D.C., in October.