By: Ke-ana Williams
Big State vs Little State. This years-long debate between Virginia State University (Big State) and Norfolk State University (Little State) is a tale as old as time, and a friendly competition between students spans sports, on-campus activities, organizations, and anything else that involves competing. However, while it may appear as though the two Universities have an actual problem with one another, especially during the latest Labor Day Classic: Battle of the Bands, the arrival of Hurricane Florence brought the two Universities together and proved that after all is said and done, HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) unity is all that matters.
From Wednesday, September 11th to Friday September 14th, Virginia State University cancelled classes to ensure students’ safety while anticipating the arrival of Hurricane Florence. However, the administration would have not been able to ensure student safety without the assistance of the student government association. Gabrielle E. Wilks, SGA President, and her team worked closely with the administration to make sure the proper arrangements were made to ensure campus was suitable for students.
“As a student, I am proud,” boasts Gabrielle Wilks. “VSU went out of their way to make sure students were more than prepared for the storm, and throughout the scare, they remained considerate of the students’ comfortability.”
Instead of moving students to the Multipurpose Center, VSU’s administration allowed them to stay in the comfort of the dorms, but remained equipped with shuttles and space in the Multipurpose Center in case the storm intensified.. Thankfully, Florence rerouted, bringing only heavy rain and dark clouds.
Further south down in Norfolk, NSU announced a mandatory evacuation from their campus due to the high possibility of substantial flooding reported in the area. Many students had no place to seek refuge, so they traveled an hour and a half inland to be housed in Virginia State’s Multipurpose Center. Gabrielle, along with other students, greeted NSU students and showcased true hospitality, making sure they felt as welcomed as possible. Their first day at the University began with a tour of the campus, and the next days were filled with fun and games like the “Hurricane Florence Classic” kickball game in Daniels Gymnasium.
“At the end of the day, we are HBCUs, both founded on the same principles to advance each other and others like us who were not given that same opportunity,” Wilks proudly explained. It proves that we can come together despite our past, which is an important aspect of the driving force behind upholding HBCUs.”