How Howard University is leaving its mark on Washington, DC – The Hilltop

Howard University Founders Library. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Howard University’s mission is to educate black students around the world, but the university’s goals go beyond its students. In part due to its central location, Howard was able to have several economic, health, and volunteer impacts on DC communities.

In 2019, Howard’s partnership with the DC Small Business Develop Center (DCSBDC) secured approximately $12 million in loans to help local small businesses such as Potomac Foods and Beverages and Plum Good.

Howard is the DCSBDC’s network headquarters and primarily contributes by offering small business advisory services, workshops, loan reviews and industry research. In 2018, the center hosted nearly 31 workshops in all departments with around 520 people present in total.

As of 2020, the School of Business (SOB) has provided free tax assistance and advice to many DC residents through Howard University’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. About 500 volunteers counsel DC families who earn $56,000 or less a year. The services provided have enabled local residents to acquire over $650,000 in refunds. Information on the exact number of inhabitants was not disclosed.

In addition to free tax services and other tax-related assistance, Howard has also helped empower DC’s youth through a myriad of after-school and summer programs.

The Howard SOB also sponsors a summer camp for high school students to promote careers in insurance, accounting, entrepreneurship, and actuarial science. The summer camp allows interested high school students to interact and learn from SOB professors at Howard University in four main areas: accounting, information systems, actuarial science, and entrepreneurship.

The Dean of SOB did not respond to our request for comment in time for publication.

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The Howard University campus is also home to a STEM-focused public charter college known as Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS2), where students from all parts of the city, however, primarily from Ward 8, receive a quality education that focuses on “a cohesive learning model based on real-world applications”.

Another important initiative undertaken by the university was the establishment of the Karsh STEM Scholars Program in 2017, formerly known as the Bison STEM Scholars Program. This top-notch program is known to help some minority students on their way to earning a Ph.D. or MD/Ph.D.

Program director Ronald Smith told The Hilltop that the program “was founded by the president, Dr Wayne AI Frederick, and the provost, Dr Anthony Wutoh, because they were very concerned about the lack of minorities who earn a doctorate. or MD/Ph.D. and have become leaders in STEM careers.

The program has a volunteer partnership with the college on the Howard campus where Karsh STEM Scholars mentor students who may need support in math and science such as biology, chemistry, and physics.

Howard’s Center for Urban Progress (CUP) seeks to increase awareness of technology use around DC CUP and the DC Opportunity Industrialization Center (DC OIC) have launched a technology training program known as the name of Youth Tech-A+. The 28-week program taught students computer concepts and helped them find internships at local tech companies.

In addition to supporting DC residents and students academically, Howard University has also launched volunteer opportunities for Howard students to directly impact the city.

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Joseph Aubee, a graduate student in microbiology at the medical school, told Hilltop that “some of the ways Howard University engages and contributes to the Washington, D.C. community involves the Alternative Spring Break and Day of Service initiatives. “.

Hosted by Howard’s WHUR radio station in conjunction with Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, the Howard University Alternative Spring Break (HUASB) program is a service-oriented program that encourages students, faculty, and staff to spend their spring break serving communities in need.

According to a public statement released by the Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel, through HUASB, students were able to volunteer at numerous DC-based nonprofits and other service-oriented organizations to lead an effort. of homelessness and HIV in the DC metro area.

In another statement from the chapel, students volunteer to serve food to those who cannot afford to feed themselves, and they work alongside other homeless students to raise awareness. to the costs of gentrification.

Nya Parker, a biology major and HUASB’s executive student director, told the Hilltop that “the program allows Howard University to exemplify our motto ‘In Truth and Service’ by serving the DC community. Howard has a huge impact on the DC community using the city’s resources and it’s important for us to show our gratitude to the natives for accepting us into the community.

Through her lens as a student, she also said that “for me, Alternative Spring Break honed my purpose in life, challenged me to step out of my comfort zone, and humbled my idea of ​​a leader. student”.

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Day of Service is a short-term event where students dedicate their day to serving the DC community as well. In 2021, a group of student service day volunteers visited Kenilworth Water Gardens, where they were able to not only volunteer helping with the beautification of the park, but also learn about environmental justice.

More recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic, Howard University Hospital, along with the School of Medicine, School of Pharmacy, and School of Dentistry have all made strides in uplifting the DC community.

Through the American Dental Association’s “Give Kids a Smile” (GKAS) program, the College of Dentistry provides free dental services such as regular screenings and preventive treatments to children from low-income families in the town. Each year, the College of Dentistry adopts one or two elementary schools and provides these children with free dental treatment to promote dental hygiene early in children’s lives.

Dr. Karl Thompson, associate professor of microbiology at the College of Medicine, told The Hilltop that Howard University has been instrumental in increasing vaccination rates around DC.

At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020, Howard University’s Faculty Practice Plan launched a COVID-19 testing area to provide residents of DC’s 7 and 8 wards with access to free testing. The testing area is located at 4414 Benning Road NE, Suite 2400, Washington, DC, Benning’s New Center.

Last September, the College of Medicine partnered with DC Public Schools (DCPS) to increase COVID-19 vaccination rates in the city. The collaboration has inspired medical students to serve as vaccine ambassadors and advocates to push students and their parents to get vaccinated.

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Dr Thompson also said, “Community outreach in terms of vaccination rates has been helpful in making people more comfortable with vaccines, especially in underserved areas of the city, and making them more accessible to all “.

Additionally, the university has partnered with the “Black Coalition Against COVID-19” to provide COVID-19 specific online guides to prevent infection, alleviate symptoms, and increase awareness and accessibility overall. to DC residents.

Aubee finally noted that “Howard University provides a solid, exceptional, and comprehensive educational and real-life experience for students and faculty and continues to provide the platform for students and faculty to seize the opportunity and ‘speak, speak out, and stand up against the injustices that plague our community. »

Copy edited by: N’dia Webb


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