Students hold HBCU Lobby Day at the NC legislature

Students from historically black colleges and universities in North Carolina traveled to the state legislature on Wednesday to advocate for HBCUs.

Organized by the Common Cause HBCU Student Action Alliance, the lobby day allowed participants to meet in person with legislators to discuss funding for their schools and protecting voting rights of students.

“The reason I drove three hours today was to meet with our state legislators so that we can try to get funding to help better the HBCUs in our state,” said Matthew Jarvis, a student at Elizabeth City State University. “Hopefully what we can leave with the lawmakers is that they need to do something. They need to help fund HBCUs in North Carolina because of the amount of impact that we have on the regions that our HBCUs are in.”

It was a unique opportunity for lawmakers to hear directly from these students who are among the thousands attending HBCUs in North Carolina.

“It’s important because these legislators, they want personal accounts, they want to hear the passion that comes from these students,” said Surrayyah Chestnut, a student at NC Central University. “They want to see what kind of students that our institutions are producing.”

With 10 historically black colleges and universities here, five of which are part of the public UNC system, North Carolina is home to more four-year HBCUs than any other state. Students at the lobby day highlighted the positive effect that these schools have on access to higher education and on strengthening the state’s economy.

“I was a little nervous coming here before. But now, talking to some of the legislators, it’s been easy. And it’s a very rewarding experience,” said Chavonni Cole, a student at NC Central University. “I feel like anybody who has an opportunity to do something like this, just get out and be a great spokesperson for your school.”