Fresno State NAACP offers awards and scholarships in Black Excellence Gala


Manuel Hernandez/The Collegian

Fresno State NAACP sets up booth at club rush on Feb. 14 inviting new members and promoting its upcoming event the ‘Black Excellence Gala.’

By Sanai James, Reporter

Fresno State’s NAACP is hosting a Black Excellence Gala on Friday, March 3, in the Satellite Student Union. It is open to all students. 

“The goal of the Black Excellence Gala is to celebrate the achievements of Black students on campus,” said Kaywanna Williams, the Fresno State NAACP president. 

Students can RSVP for the gala on the organization’s linktree on its Instagram page. They can also apply for the awards and scholarships, become a NAACP member and learn more general information about the program. The dress code attire is formal, and the deadline to RSVP and apply is Feb. 28.

“I am excited to see our most active members and to see all of the community involvement because activism work is the heart of the NAACP,” said Cher Gamble, the Black Excellence Gala Chair.

Gamble also mentioned that the gala is aimed to be a safe space for Black students to collaborate, network and build their community. 

In 2020, the NAACP at Fresno State gave away scholarships during the pandemic for students in need. This upcoming gala is an event to congratulate those recipients and expand the program’s outreach to other Black students. 

Some of the awards for the gala include the Academic Achievement Award and a Community Involvement Award. Most of the scholarships and awards are open to all students but some require NAACP membership, such as the Black History Month Scholarship. 

Students can fill out a membership form here. The event will also feature graduating NAACP members, who will be receiving their graduation stoles. 

Another aspect of the gala is crowning NAACP royalty. 

“It is just like at prom, like prom king and queen, and that’s for anybody that submits their application,” Williams told The Collegian. 

Zion Harshaw, a third year MCJ major, heard about the gala and immediately RSVP’d. He said he is most excited to dance and enjoy the free food.

“I want people to recognize and appreciate Black people all year round, not just this month. I think the NAACP helps push that forward. Even if it’s through major steps or baby steps,” Harshaw said. 

Fresno State’s NAACP is currently applying for an ASI grant, according to Williams. However, the scholarships are sponsored by outside organizations. 

“Most of it is coming from our own money,” Williams said. 

She emphasized that this is a great opportunity for all students, especially students of color, to strengthen their community and celebrate their achievements.