For the month of February, the Collegian is working with ABC to spotlight black students at TU.
Paying attention to TU’s closeness to her home and drawn to the Liberal Arts program, now-senior Houston Hardman felt that, if she needed a challenge and wanted to become a more well-rounded person,TU was the best fit.
One of the many organizations Hardman is a part of is being a member of ABC, or thee Association of Black Collegians on campus. The President of the organization Jayla Meeks recommended that she be highlighted as a student for all the work she does behind the scenes for the program. When I asked Hardman about working with ABC and how she doesn’t ask to be acknowledged she said “I don’t have to be at the front, I can do my part and let the work show for itself,” said Hardman.
To show Hardman that her hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, The Association of Black Collegians Executive Board chose to select Houston Hardman as the first black student on TU’s campus to acknowledge for her work for ABC, her involvement in campus activities and for being the person that is always ready to help others.
Houston Hardman was previously a member of ABC’s Executive Board as a freshman to senior, but with the executive board switching from academic to calendar year, when entering 2020 it was time for someone else to take the reigns and take over. Houston Hardman thinks this was necessary as it was time for someone younger to take over and “do their own thing”
When first joining ABC, the program was very small. With such a small program, there weren’t many people to fill the seats on the executive board, so Hardman was asked to become in command of Community Outreach.
Looking back, Houston Hardman doesn’t regret joining the program. Being able to find a community that shares some of her struggles, the solidarity and bond ABC has provided Hardman is something she will never forget. Finding lifetime friends Hardman said that she can see her calling people in ten years to scream and laugh about their lives outside of college.
Being with other black students, Hardman finds it important that there’s a place where they can all gather and celebrate differences while still being a group. Hardman doesn’t regret saying yes to the community outreach position.
“We’ve seen it grow from the bottom up, and I’m happy to be a part of that,” said Hardman. At the time when first joining, Hardman recalled the times when there wasn’t enough black involvement in ABC that they didn’t have many members in the program.’ From then to now, Hardman finds it inspiring that there will be a continuation in the program due to the overwhelming amount of people joining.
Going from Jack and Jill of America, an organization geared toward African American children to learn leadership skills and other opportunities, Hardman found it refreshing to see that ABC is continuing this by giving college students an opportunity to help the community and give back. By volunteering at Greenwood, asking blackowned businesses in Tulsa to cater events, and giving black vendors a platform at a Self Care Expo, ABC does their best to aid and uplift black creators in Tulsa.
Hardman says there’s a lot of pressure and responsibility when it comes to being in today’s society as a black woman. She said. “Even if I fail, I need to keep my head up [because] other black girls won’t be encouraged to keep going.” Houston feels that it is important to always work your hardest because someone who looks up to you, or who needs to see someone who looks like them succeed is extremely important in life.
With Black History Month, Hardman feels that it’s necessary to celebrate everyday and to acknowledge who came before us. “Everything happens for a reason [and we] are here to continue what they did.”
Some advice she gives to freshman is to join organizations, get involved on campus and to find a community that you feel comfortable in. “Finding solidarity whether political or not, cultural or not, can help you get through hard times.”
Another organization that Houston Hardman pushes for is Global Scholars, as it gives everyone a chance to travel the world and to do community service. Houston has gone to Cape Town, South Africa, for community service and has a pen pal she keeps in contact with and studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, for six weeks. Hardman wants freshmen to explore outside of their comfort zones to find themselves and see the world.
Houston Hardman is majoring in Exercise Sports Science in Pre-Med with a minor in Spanish. Some of Hardman’s hobbies include watching scary movies, playing intramural volleyball and basketball and hanging out with friends. Recently, Houston was in the first TU volleyball club team to ever travel for a game, where they would win the last two games.
Additionally, Hardman is the Senior Apartment Community Assistant and works primarily with sorority row in helping them with fire drills and other routine procedures. After graduation she wants to take a gap year to focus on herself then apply to medical school. We want to acknowledge Houston Hardman’s hard work and dedication to TU, and the work she’s done for ABC behind the scenes. Thank you, Houston, and have a wonderful semester!