Every year, colleges and universities across the country unite their current students, faculty, and alumni to celebrate the existence and achievements of their illustrious institutions. It’s a weeklong spree of mingling with those you know (and those you don’t), engaging in rituals that will never be forgotten, and the ultimate chance to network with the schools’ OGs. But when it comes to Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCUs], homecoming is more than a string of events. It’s a literal family reunion. And any HBCU graduate knows it. 

If you’ve never had the privilege of indulging in such an experience, let us paint the picture. There are pop-up barbecues on the yard, must-see fraternity and sorority step shows in the gym, buy-it-while-you-can paraphernalia in the bookstores, and dorm wars that will keep you up all night. But when it’s all said and done, it’s the tailgate before the football game, the surrounding parties, pop-up celebrity appearances and performances, and the undeniable camaraderie that forge the fondest memories. 

Unfortunately, the social settings associated with homecoming amongst the majority of HBCUs are cancelled this year. (We all know why.) But that doesn’t mean the celebrations have to end. In honor of every HBCU homecoming that has historically marked another year, Complex tapped a trio of notable HBCU graduates—DJ Heat of Morgan State University, actor Lance Gross of Howard University, and professional baller Robert Covington of Tennessee State University—to relive their most memorable homecoming experiences and explain what incoming classes have to look forward to when the festivities resume.