HU Spring Fest Opens With Gospel, Closes With Soul
Her steady employment at the moment is as a nurse, but at Hampton University's Spring Fest Week 2008, Crystal Aikin sung about another type of healing. The BET Sunday's Best competition winner headlined HU's kickoff concert March 30 and brought some in Ogden Hall to tears and others to shouts, as she belted gospel favorites.
"It was phenomenal," Aikin said, of her experience at HU, while signing autographs after her performance. "I believe God got the glory."
Aikin was one of a few celebrities who graced campus grounds during the university's Spring Fest Week, which included a waterfront picnic, a block party and dorm Olympics. Students showed up, spirited and energetic, at events all week.
"It was a great week," said HU Senior Krystle Maclin, of Upper Marlboro, Md. "Between having artists like Common and Christian artists like Crystal Aiken... I believe HU put a lot of time, effort and money into spring fest week to make it memorable."
The memories include a performance by Comedian DeeRay, who performed in Ogden Hall mid week.
"I enjoyed it. I laughed from beginning to end," said HU Senior Jade Waddy of the comic, who's been in movies such as "Barbershop." "His opening acts were as funny as he was."
HU Senior Teddy Reeves coordinated the Miss Hampton University fashion show on Thursday. The theme was "An International Affair," and models wore vivid fashions depicting styles from Tokyo, Africa, Paris and New York.
Students packed seats at Ogden Hall Friday and lined the walls to witness the Greek step show competition, hosted by MC Suede. The night's winner was the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, who beat out Phi Beta Sigma and Iota Phi Theta Fraternities Inc., and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.
The week ended April 5, with a performance by rap artist Common, who recited songs from his albums "Like Water For Chocolate," and "Be." Pleasure P of Pretty Ricky and other local artists opened for the headliner.
Near the end of his performance, Common's freestyle rap included references to localities like Mercury Boulevard, Military Circle and HU Student Activities Director Sharon "Ms. T" Trabbold.
Though putting together the week's events was a lot of work, Trabbold said the outcome was worth it.
"I was very pleased. The students seemed like they really enjoy it. So yes, I am more than satisfied with the entire week of Spring Fest activities. Thanks to the students, staff, administrators, alumni, and especially the student activities staff for supporting this wonderful event," Trabbold said. "This was just the benchmark. We just want to build upon this every year and make it better."
Senior Week Activities
The following activities are currently scheduled for Hampton University's Senior Week. Listings are subject to change. All dues paying seniors are permitted to attend these events free of charge.* For more information contact the HU Office of Student Activities at 757.727.5691.
Saturday, May 3
Senior Ball at Founders Inn - 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.*
Sunday, May 4
King's Dominion - 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (transportation not provided)*
Monday, May 5
Cookout/ Adopt-a-spot Clean-up at Darling Stadium - 2 p.m. until *
Tuesday, May 6
Spirit of Norfolk (All-White) - 10 p.m.*
Wednesday, May 7
Bowling in Chesapeake - 12 a.m. to 4 a.m.*
Thursday, May 8
Freshmen Step Show Re-Enactment in Student Center- 7 p.m.*
Block Party in front of Student Center - 10 p.m.*
Friday, May 9
Graduation practice at Armstrong Stadium - 9 a.m. Senior Banquet at Holland Hall*
Saturday, May 10
Family Cookout at Strawberry Banks - 12 p.m.*
Firework Show/Crossing Ogden - 9pm - 12 a.m.
Sunday, May 11
Graduating seniors arrive at Armstrong Stadium - 8:30 a.m.
Procession Begins - 9:15 p.m. Graduation ceremony begins - 10 a.m.
CNN HBCU Tour Stops at Hampton University
On April 16, CNN set up camp at Hampton University to promote the "Black In America" series. Hampton was one of six schools featured in CNN's "Black In America" Historical Black College and University Mobile Tour. The documentary reported by Soledad O'Brien gives light to the African-American experience and its impact on the present and future of all Americans.
The tour was inspired by Keisha Taylor, marketing manager for CNN USA. Taylor, a HU alumna, developed the idea from her memories and experience at HU. "You haven't seen an HBCU until you've seen Hampton," she said.
CNN was on campus bright and early setting up their "footprint" between the Student Center and the Martin Luther King building. DJ Tay James was playing music from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Above him was a large screen displaying text messages and photos the audience sent from their phones. Students answered Essence Magazine poll questions at a nearby kiosk. They also wrote about what it means to be black in America in multi-colored markers on a graffiti wall.
Cox Communications and Essence Magazine, who are partners in the tour, had booths where cups, cup holders, drawstring bags, magazines and magazine subscriptions were given away.
Tiffany Nicole Blacknall, a senior broadcast journalism major and a member of the Center for Broadcast Excellence, won the CNN Black in America HBCU tour iReport contest held a week earlier. Blacknall won a digital video camera and interviewed students and reported on the day's events. She will now submit a second iReport documenting the experiences of HU's Black in America Tour Stop for a chance to win the Grand Prize- a trip for two to the Essence Music Festival in New Orleans.
"I was surprised. I was excited that I had the opportunity to work with professionals," she said. Her footage may appear in the CNN program that airs in July.
Inside the Student Center, students lined up to submit their iReports in video booths. They submitted video essays about what it means to be black in America.
Many HU students were involved in preparing for the event. Kristan McCann, a sophomore public relations major, was one of the 10 student ambassadors chosen to promote the tour.
"I wanted to represent my school in a positive way," she said. "I wanted people to know that being black in America can be a really positive experience."
McCann and her peers spread out around campus wearing "Black In America" shirts to get the word out to students.
"I'm glad someone told me to go," said Erica Jones, a sophomore. "It's nice that we got the opportunity to share what being black means to us."
A steady crowd moved throughout the footprint, and many stayed for the open-mic contest at 2 p.m. Contestants recited original spoken word pieces about being black in America. The three winners decided by the crowd received $25 gift certificates.
The festivities ended at 4 p.m. and everyone involved felt the day was a success. Byron Johnson, a junior and student ambassador for the event, believes the goal of the tour has been accomplished.
The "Black In America" series will air in July. President William R. Harvey said Hampton University is proud to have participated in the tour and commended Taylor and the other HU graduates at CNN on their work.