Three strategic communications majors at Hampton University in need of a senior capstone project decided to use their experience as Her Campus magazine correspondents to create the first “Her HBCU” digital conference.
Tiana Ruffin, Kiara Davis and Jordyn Edwards — of Her Campus Hampton — coordinated the three-day confab in October “to propel HBCU women through educational opportunities and workshops within a virtual space.”
Hampton is one of 10 HBCU chapters in the 400+ chapter Her Campus network.
“The concept initially started with a car conversation with Jordyn and I. We wanted to create a platform and space for HBCU Her Campus chapters to feel free to say how they feel about products sent to us [from Her Campus] and the amounts of recognition we receive,” Ruffin said.
Edwards agreed, and said it was time “to take things into our own hands and make a conference for women who looked like us.”
“It all started with an idea to increase the exposure Her Campus HBCU chapters received,” she said.
The conference was originally scheduled for last spring in-person until the coronavirus pandemic interrupted plans.
Ruffin and Davis took the concept to their fellow HBCU correspondents at Clark Atlanta University, Howard University and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to create the conference.
Three sessions were held daily with topics ranging from team bonding, learning your niche, branding yourself, pitching and more.
The final session on day three focused on “The HBCU Woman’s Reality” with a panel and open forum for attendees to express frustrations regarding lack of representation in the industry and navigating media careers as Black women.
The conversation allowed participants to address the need for a stronger push for Her Campus to work on sending sponsored products that are not white-washed to HBCU campuses.
Concerns were also voiced about the lack of recognition and representation of HBCU chapters on Her Campus’ national platforms.
“Members of Her Campus nationals have been raving to each other over this incredible platform you have built. The fact that you’ve built something of substance in a time that we want to hear from you, you deserve to be heard, we are so proud to be affiliated with you,” said Jamie Hawk, Director of Sales for Her Campus.