Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Black students are the welcoming faces of UA

Courtesy of UA BamaBound’s Instagram
New Avanti Orientation leaders pose for a group photo.

The Avanti orientation team is the University’s premier group of students that welcomes incoming students to campus. They are some of the first faces that students and their parents see when they attend Bama Bound and register for classes. This year, the Avanti team is an organization made up predominantly of Black students.  

Salome Montague, an Avanti and a sophomore majoring in public relations and Spanish, said the perceived racial makeup of the orientation team depends on the year. When she was an incoming student, she said, the team was a more evenly mixed group.  

“We try to welcome future students the best that we can. To make sure they feel that UA is the place for them,” said William Battle, a sophomore majoring in accounting.  

Madison Hoffman, a junior majoring in public relations and creative media, said that she has received the odd glance from some of the white students and parents who come to Bama Bound.  

Battle said much the same about a mostly Black student group representing a predominantly white institution.  

“I could tell that we made some people feel awkward. They weren’t expecting our team to look like it does,” Battle said. 

Montague, Battle and Hoffman all agree that being a Black student on the Avanti team allows them to make the orientation experience for incoming students of color better.  

Montague, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, said that her most impactful experiences have been connecting with and relating to incoming students who struggle to adopt the University as their home away from home. 

Her most prominent experience was connecting with a Jamaican mother whose son would be attending the University. Montague felt that she made a genuine connection with the mother, beyond trying to sell the University to her. 

Battle feels that the team has brought more fervor to the program, for example by creating a chant to the song “Swag Surfin’,” by Fast Life Yungstaz, featuring Easton. 

When Hoffman was asked by a girl and her mother if the Avanti leaders are normally predominantly Black, she responded, “No, but we made history, and it is for right now.” 

Battle and Hoffman agreed that their impact as Avanti leaders is being a potential inspiration to the students of color who choose to attend this school.  

“We were showing other African American students and people of color they can be in the same leadership position we’re in,” Battle said.  

Similarly, Hoffman said, “It’s nice to influence other Black people. You can be face of this school too.”  

Battle, Hoffman and Montague all stressed the importance of the diverse student population at the University.  

Displaying the diversity of the University and encouraging students from everywhere to make this environment their new home are stressed by Montague, Hoffman and Battle, who are all currently listed as active Avanti members.  

For more information about the Avanti team, visit its website.  

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