Hampton University students in the William R. Harvey Leadership Institute (WRHLI) joined a group of students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities for a trip to the White House for South by South Lawn on Oct. 3. Black Wall Street, a Durham-based organization dedicated to increasing the number of minority entrepreneurs who successfully grow scalable businesses, and American Underground, a Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub, were the hosts of the event, according to a press release.
Described as a festival of “ideas, art and action,” SXSL is presented by the American Film Institute (AFI), the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH), the National Park Foundation, and South by Southwest®. President Barack Obama was scheduled to join actor/activist Leonardo DiCaprio for a panel during the day’s events. “The WRHLI is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in the White House’s inaugural South by South Lawn event,” said Dr. Desiree Williams, Interim director of WRHLI. “An initiative celebrating both innovation and social change, the leaders being cultivated at Hampton University have both the character and passion to make an impactful contribution to the conversation.”
The four students selected to participate in this event were Jade Lawson, senior journalism major; Simone Hardeman, in her fourth year of the five-year MBA program; Barry Palmore, in his third year of the five-year MBA program; and, Michael Sales, in his fourth year of the five-year MBA program. All of the students are leadership studies minors. The White House received over 20,000 applications to attend South by South Lawn. The BWS application stood out, as it was an extension of an earlier campaign.
That campaign, Black Wall Street: Spring Break, includes a charge to area HBCUs to send more students to the annual South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin. “To be recognized as one of four HU students that will represent our illustrious institution is truly a blessing,” said Lawson. “It is an honor to be amongst some of the top HBCU scholars in the country and in the presence of our nation’s president and first lady.”
Barry Palmore Simone Hardeman Jade Lawson Alex Scales