Virginia Tech's Office for Inclusion and Diversity organized the university's first Black College Institute (BCI), a three-day residential pre-college program for high school students who identify as African-American or black and plan to attend college.

The 57 students who attended were immersed in campus life and experienced college-level seminars and activities.

The theme of the first day was empowerment and self-exploration. The students had lunch at Owens Banquet Room, where Menah Pratt-Clarke, vice president for strategic affairs and vice provost for inclusion and diversity, gave the welcome address. Brandy Faulkner, visiting assistant professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, was the keynote speaker. Students attended a strengths seminar and an empowerment session.

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The second day was deemed Ut Prosim (That I May Serve) Day. Students took buses to Roanoke, Virginia, to participate in service projects across the Roanoke Valley. See the video above.  

The third day was College/Career Exploration Day. Students wore professional attire and attended a professional development session, had an etiquette lunch at The Inn at Virginia Tech, and went to a college fair and networking event.

Students wait in line
Students wait their turn at the buffet while participating in an etiquette lunch hosted by the Black College Institute’s Pre-College Program at Virginia Tech.
A student  squeezes lemon into a glass of water
Joshua Threatt carefully follows proper etiquette as he squeezes a lemon into his water during a lunch in the Latham Ballroom at The Inn at Virginia Tech.

On their fourth and final day, students presented group projects they worked on throughout the week.

BCI is an initiative of InclusiveVT Project 2022, a program designed to increase student diversity. InclusiveVT is the institutional and individual commitment to Ut Prosim in the spirit of community, diversity, and excellence.

Written by Olivia Coleman

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