The University of Oxford defines Alumni or Alumna as “a former student or pupil of a school, college, or university. Commonly, but not always, the word refers to a graduate of the educational institution in question.”
Growing up in a HBCU household, you always hear stories about parties, games, activities and always keeping in touch with those that made their college years memorable. I got a chance to speak with Ashley Little, a graduate of North Carolina A&T, and The CEO/Founder of Ashley Little Enterprises, LLC which encompasses her media, consulting work, writing, ghost writing, book publishing, book coaching, project management, public relations & marketing, and empowerment speaking.
In addition, she is an award-winning serial entrepreneur, TV/radio host, speaker, host, philanthropist, investor, and 5X best-selling author.
Little partnered with two fellow former Aggies, Uche Byrd and Fred Whitaker. Uche Byrd during his tenure at the HBCU, was fortunate enough to pledge the Mu Psi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and help the position of Mr. Aggie the campus King. Today, Uche resides in northeast Washington, D.C. with his wife and son, and serves as the Metro Area Youth Federation Leader for the Allegheny East Conference of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, where he works with the youth programing for 30+ churches in the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas.
Fred Whitaker While in college at NC A&T State University, he coordinated various large campus events. After graduating with a degree in communications, Fred took steps on a path he didn’t imagine himself traveling. “I had no experience in management, so everything I have accomplished over the last fifteen years, I learned on the job,” he states.
How did The HBCU experience come about?
We created The HBCU Experience Movement, LLC to continue to raise awareness for our HBCUs and reach young alumni. The HBCU Experience Movement is a collection of stories from alumni throughout the world sharing how their university has molded them into the people they are today. We are also giving back financially to invest in our HBCUs throughout the country. We wanted to create a way to increase and encourage young alumni to give back to their universities. Our company is focused on more than books, we are partnering with universities, creating opportunities and sharing black stories.
Why is the HBCU experience so important to our community?
The HBCU experience is so important to the community, because our stories need to be documented. We didn’t see a lot of our stories being shared or documented in publications, so we decided to change the narrative. Next, we saw the need to increase young alumni giving and we wanted to find an affordable way to encourage young alumni to start giving back. We strive every day to be the change we wish to see in the world.
What made you three come together and build the HBCU experience brand?
We came together when we did our first book The HBCU Experience: The North Carolina A&T State University Edition we are proud products of North Carolina A&T State University. We saw the impact and the great success the book had at our university. The goal was to always start a movement and do the book at different HBCUs our success at A&T sparked an even greater motivation to create more opportunities to have a major impact.
What is your goal with The HBCU Experience?
Our goal for The HBCU Experience is to eventually work with all 107 HBCUs as we continue to grow. This movement is not about us it is about closing the gaps to help keep our amazing institutions open and to help with recruitment efforts by sharing our stories and giving back financially. We are focused on highlighting the important need for these amazing institutions and the overall benefits of a HBCU education. We would not be the people we are today if it wasn’t for North Carolina A&T State University Aggie Pride!
What’s the next move for The HBCU Experience?
We have a lot of great things on the horizon for the movement. Stay Tuned!
The HBCU Experience is something that should not be missed. From sports to fashion, HBCUs have set the narrative for much of pop culture. From Howard University to Texas Southern University, HBCUs have given a voice to millions across the globe and if we want to keep this momentum we have to protect our Historically Black Colleges and Universities.