This year seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) take Spring Break simultaneously, a rare convergence of time off that has spawned plans for a big party in South Florida.
Starting March 9, Howard University, Hampton University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Clark Atlanta University, Tennessee State University and Florida A & M University begin their mid-semester breaks and many of their students will head to South Beach.
“I am really excited about sharing spring break with my brother and sister HBCUs,” said Atlanta Native and Senior at Hampton University Alexa Hollinshead “We haven’t had a Spring Break like this since my freshman year.”
In 2010, at least five HBCU’s partied during Spring Break on the beaches of Miami and Panama City. The following years spring breaks varied from school to school. Students wondered whether this was a coordinated effort to prevent reckless behavior and the negative publicity for HBCUs that comes with it.
Rumors have been swirling around that school administrators synched their calendars in order to allow students to have an opportunity to bond with their friends at other universities. However, school officials at all of the universities said that those dates–March 9-17–just happened to work for their school calendars. Atlanta University Center schools Morehouse, Spelman and Clark Atlanta plan their academic calendars three years in advance.
“The Office of the Provost sets the academic calendar. It is the same time each year,” said Dr. Kerry-Ann Hamilton, director of the Office of University Communications at Howard University. “There was no consideration given to other spring breaks.”
Proven to simply be a blissful coincidence, students at the seven HBCU’s are reveling in the fact that they can share this time that marks the midpoint of the spring semester with their friends. Many students think this opportunity will inspire great networking and a healthy dose of friendly competition among institutions.
“Spring Break is a week long kick-back from the stressors of school,” said Harrison Brown . “I think this year the melting pot of students will begin to boil. Different HBCU’s are always going to try to out do each other-all in fun though,” said the 21-year old, Clark Atlanta student who will also be traveling to South Beach.
Talk of students traveling to Miami for Spring Break has circulated for months
“I heard that everyone would be in Miami, as for years it has been one of the more popular Spring Break destinations,” said Atlanta Native and Spelmanite Jessica Hines. “I also wanted to do something different. So I’m going on a cruise to the Cayman Islands during the week, and joining my peers in Miami for the weekend,” she said.