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Spelman Alumna Dana Michelle Davenport and Morehouse Alumnus Chris Evans inspire and assist college students by way of the Homecoming Challenge. It’s a nationwide initiative with a mission to give back—during a surprise visit by alumni—to deserving students. The challenge aims to encourage and reassure students they can press through and achieve goals, in spite of daily challenges.  Uncertainty, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed are just a few emotions thousands of young adults experience when setting foot on their college campus for the first time.  Away from parents and comfort zones, they dive deep into the sea of the unknown. Many are in the midst of financial strain, unsure from where their next meal is coming.  In 2017, Dana and Chris began a movement to uplift students’ spirits during this pivotal transition.

Participating is simple whenever you head to campus: grab envelopes, cash, business cards, and head to campus. Once you arrive at your old dorm room, give the student in your old bed a donation ($20 is suggested). If you can, provide a donation to the roommate, as well. Share advice or encouragement with the student verbally or via a note. Post a picture or video on social media with the hashtag #HomecomingChallenge and tag @homecomingchallenge on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Though it’s named the Homecoming Challenge, alumni participants are urged to take part at any time, whether a reunion, graduation, recruiting or move-in day. Created for any alumni, this is the perfect opportunity to connect with the impressionable student exactly where you used to be. While orientation programs are widespread, there are few programs that help students once engulfed in daily campus life. Many students lack support systems, especially first-generation attendees. The Homecoming Challenge is an opportunity to create an organic relationship and establish mentor/mentee connections to aid in transition and retention. The challenge is multi-purposed; it’s a huge benefit to colleges and universities because as alumni accept the challenge, they are endeared back to their alma mater beyond typical alumni giving campaigns.  Additionally, 36% of students on U.S. college campuses are considered “food insecure," meaning they do not get enough to eat.  We believe the Homecoming Challenge can help. 


The initial launch of the Homecoming Challenge began with Morehouse and Spelman Colleges on the 9th radio episode of Dana Being Dana in October 2017.  With over 5,500 views on Facebook alone, the challenge helped over 150 students at those initial institutions and additional students nationwide.  With alumni participation from Big Ten schools, faith-based institutions, Ivy League schools and Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Homecoming Challenge has grown in the last three years and has been featured on WGN TV and Naperville Community Television.  In 2019, the Homecoming Challenge embarked on its inaugural nationwide tour visiting Florida A&M University, Howard University, Morehouse College and Spelman College.  The last stop of the tour, at Morehouse and Spelman, was sponsored by The Kroger Company.  


Our goal is to increase impact with all public and private schools across the nation.  For sponsorship information click HERE.  For testimonials, more information and to fully accept the challenge, visit

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