Alaska Airlines empowers students in the Pacific Northwest: Flying dozens to college tours 

Photos by Joe Nicholson & Abby Zeller

In partnership with local organizations, Alaska Airlines flew more than 60 BIPOC high school juniors from Seattle and Portland to tour historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) 

Last month, we flew 60 BIPOC students from the Pacific Northwest to tour colleges in Atlanta, Georgia. The Atlanta area is home to many HBCUs, including Morehouse, Spelman, Clark Atlanta, Morris Brown, and Fort Valley State. Some students continued to tour additional schools along the East Coast, including Tuskegee University, Alabama State, Howard, and more. Given the absence of HBCUs in the Northwest, these trips inspire students to experience the cultural richness and opportunities offered by HBCUs. 

While at the schools, students spoke with admissions counselors, current students and administrators about the importance of going to college, the admissions process and financial aid.  

These college tours wouldn’t have been possible without our longstanding partnership with UNCF and Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI). 

“The HBCU tour exposes and highlights the opportunities for our young people to strive for higher education. Seeing a version of themselves on these campuses inspires and excites them. Our students come back more focused and believing that they can achieve anything that they put their energy and effort into. Based on financial limitations, SEI absolutely could not do this tour without the support of Alaska Airlines.” – Anthony Deloney, Director of Development at Self Enhancement, Inc. 

The Alaska airlines sendoff alone was probably the best thing I’ve experienced at SEI, and I’ve been here 27 years.” – Tamra Hickok, Director of Program Innovation at Self Enhancement, Inc. 

Over two decades of collaboration with UNCF 

UNCF’s mission is to build a robust and nationally recognized pipeline of underrepresented students who become highly qualified college graduates. Alaska Airlines has been a proud partner with UNCF for more than 18 years – donating more than 20 million miles to fly students to attend college tours. We invite our guests to donate miles to UNCF through our CARE Miles program to support this effort. 

SEI & Alaska help move Portland forward 

Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) is a pillar in the North Portland community— providing academic support and services for Black students and their families. SEI’s strength is in its ability to meet the complex needs of the children and families it serves, including helping people to overcome cultural, educational and economic barriers. Alaska has been a steadfast supporter of SEI’s annual fundraiser for over a decade. However, this year marked a significant milestone as it was the first time we extended support to SEI’s annual HBCU tour.

SEI HBCU tour stops included Tuskegee University, Alabama State University, Clark University, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Johnson C Smith University, North Carolina A&T University, and Howard University. Hear Janiya’s experience at the tour and how each one impacted her college journey!