14:23 PM

UHD to Host First African-American Male Resource Fair

Gator Gateway

The societal challenges and obstacles that afflict African-American males in the pursuit of higher education are unambiguous; and many universities and colleges in America are struggling to recruit and retain black male students.

Statistics show that black males are pursuing and obtaining postsecondary degrees at rates consistently lower than their white, other minority and female counterparts. The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) recognizes this issue and is working to change that — one step at a time.

On Oct. 19 and 21, UHD will hosts its first "EduGator African-American Male Resource Fair" for African-American male high school seniors and transfer students. Spearheaded by UHD Director of Minority Male Recruitment Jerry Wallace, the fair will allow prospective students to learn the college admissions process, connect with academic departments and advisors, financial aid, student life, and engage with current students, administration and alumni.

"We recognize that the enrollment and retention for men of color is well below the average at UHD," said Wallace, who has extensive experience working with minority males. "We are increasing our efforts in collaborating with our feeder schools in order to support our incoming African-American male students."

With more than 200 students expected to attend, the event will include roundtable discussions on topics such as the unique challenges African-American and Hispanic males face, first-generation college students, college participation and student development.

The event will run both days from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Girard Street Building, Milam and Travis rooms. The event will host high school seniors on Wednesday, Oct. 19 and transfer students on Friday, Oct. 21. Participating schools include Heights High School, Northside High School, Westbury High School, Bel Air High School, Cashmere High School, as well as many Houston-area colleges. All attendees will get the opportunity for automatic university acceptance — if they meet criteria.

"In the near future, I hope to build a bigger program for this subgroup," said Wallace. "I'm continuously reaching out to Houston-area schools to engage students, face-to-face, and promote and build awareness to this program. As word gets out and the program continues to grow, hopefully it will become an annual landmark event for high school seniors."

UHD faculty, staff and students are invited to volunteer and participate in panel discussions, round table breakfast sessions, campus tours and presentations. If you're interested, sign-up at Sign Up Genius. (For the Oct. 21 event, sign-up here to volunteer) Free lunch will be provided. Check-in time for students is at 8:15 a.m.

For more information, contact Jerry Wallace at 713-226-5553.