New magazine upkeeps ‘yard’

For many students, the college experience is about what happens in between classes: lifelong connections that produce true love for your alma mater. If you visit the main yard of any HBCU after a good game or in between classes, you will see this magic come to life.

Students at black colleges, along with alumni hoping to unite HBCUs nationwide, have captured “yard life” in a new magazine called Yardstyle.

Yardstyle is about the size of Jet and focuses solely on the lives, interests and concerns of college students.

A year ago, Morgan State alumnus and Yardstyle’s editor-in-chief, Michael Tucker came up with the idea to create a magazine geared toward students at HBCUs.

“We want to give black college students something to talk about and be proud of, a magazine that speaks to them in their language about their issues,” Tucker said. “Our mission is to inspire and entertain.”

So far 20 schools, including FAMU, are scheduled to receive the first issue, which comes out in November.

Each school has representatives that submit stories, ideas and keep Yardstyle editors abreast of issues on their campuses.

The magazine’s will have sections focusing on black college alumni, financial and scholarship information, internships, poetry, entertainment, fashion and opinions.

Since the articles focus on such campus issues as Greek life, school fashions and sports teams, the student representatives and student readers are important in producing the magazine and keeping it current, said Bobby Patterson, marketing adviser for Yardstyle.

“Writing for the magazine is a lot different from writing for your college paper or local column, because the issues [in Yardstyle] are common for all HBCUs and will be showcased on a broader scale,” Patterson said.

Students at HBCUs nationwide will provide 85 percent of the magazine’s material.

“We want student involvement, and if a student has talent, then we want to showcase them in our magazine,” said David Watson, distribution manager for Yardstyle.

Direct Impulse, the same group that carried Howard’s 2001 Homecoming and Vibe magazine, funds Yardstyle. Other sponsors are also being considered.

Tucker said he feels African-American buying power is just starting to be recognized by big name companies like Nike and Coca-Cola.

“By producing this magazine, we hope to bridge the gap between corporate America and historically black college students,” he said.

This year, the group plans to produce four or five issues, increasing circulation as popularity increases. Yardstyle hopes to showcase the talents and experiences of the entire HBCU community.