At Handshake, we’re proud to partner with 35 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country to help their students launch meaningful careers — from students at Delaware State University to the men and women at Morehouse and Spelman. While we continue to work day-in and day-out to democratize access for all HBCU students, we now want to build a peer mentorship community to expand Handshake’s support to more students on campus.
DAP is an acronym for “Dignity and Pride.” The DAPSquad is an intercollegiate community for students of color across our HBCU network on Handshake. The movements of the traditional ‘DAP’ translate to “I’m not above you, you’re not above me, we’re side by side, we’re together.” DAP was a symbol of solidarity among Black American Vietnam soldiers and was a substitute for the Black Power salute, which was prohibited by the military. DAP represented a pact black soldiers made to look after one another.
In this first year, more than 70 students from HBCUs across the country will become members of the DAPSquad. Our community will not only span 35 campuses, but it will cut across all majors and career paths. DAPSquad will include computer science students, finance majors, future directors and authors. We will have members of prestigious organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers, Code2040 fellows, plus brothers and sisters from the Divine Nine.
“The DAPSquad community allows me to better engage my students and take their job search to the next level.”
— Marian Menard, Career Services Director of Xavier University of Louisiana
Our goal is to empower a network of mentors and create a near-peer support system to encourage upperclassmen to pass along career advice to first-year students who are just beginning the career journey.
Ensuring equitable access to higher education is more critical now than ever. According to a report by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, individuals with a postsecondary degree or credential earn $1 million more over the course of their lifetime than their counterparts with a high school diploma or less. Only 67% of Black and 70% of Latinx student persist to their second year of college, falling far behind their peers and putting them economically behind.
At Handshake, we know just how important early career engagement is for underrepresented students. Increased engagement ultimately helps students stay engaged and persist through college — and hopefully, reach their full earning potential.
“DAPSquad is getting students ready to jumpstart their career journeys early but also teaching us that equality, humility, teamwork, and passion are the true keys to success…not just your personal resume.”
— Fatima Edwards, a senior at Delaware State University
Spread the word by sharing this announcement with your campus community. Not only will you gain some cred for knowing the difference between DAP and DAB, but someone in your network is likely the only way that a first-generation college HBCU student will hear about a resource designed to help them build a fulfilling career.
We’re excited to build the DAPSquad community together this Fall. If you have any questions, please reach reach out to Yulee Newsome at firstname.lastname@example.org.