As a Disney Professional Intern and HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) student studying sports communications at Lane College, it was an amazing experience to cover the largest-ever HBCU Week at Walt Disney World. I felt great pride in seeing the company recognize and celebrate the importance of schools like mine.
The week kicked off strong when HBCU Alumni cast members were invited to meet ESPN featured commentator and HBCU Week Ambassador, Stephen A. Smith. The cast members were then invited to stay and watch a live airing of my favorite sports talk show, First Take — which features Smith. It was special seeing these cast members show up in their HBCU best and represent their schools.
The fun continued with marching band performances down Main Street, U.S.A. and a special appearance by Drum Major Mickey Mouse. In addition, local students received on-the-spot college admissions offers and scholarships. Throughout the week, the feeling of Black excellence and HBCU pride was present everywhere you looked.
“This event showed cast members and the world that HBCUs are a valuable part of what makes this company so special.” Campus recruiter and cast member LaJoy said.
It was an experience our cast members, including myself, will never forget. Despite having attended HBCUs from across the nation, we created a sense of community.
“That’s the beauty of being a graduate of an HBCU. It doesn’t matter what school you came from – the moment you meet another HBCU alumni, you’re instantly family. That’s what happened here today,” said Josh, Security cast member.
As a Black man, the weekend was a reminder of just how important it is for individuals to see themselves represented and celebrated. This unforgettable experience made me prouder than ever to attend an HBCU. It reaffirmed the path I am on and fuels my hope for what my future holds!