The YARD Tour and Vulcan Materials return to Benedict College to host THINK BIG NOW Pitch Competition

(Columbia, SC) Students at Benedict College will present their ideas and compete for scholarships and prizes, as The YARD Tour returns to Benedict College for its THINK BIG NOW Pitch Competition on September 14th.

In August, The YARD and Vulcan Materials hosted a pop-up event on Benedict’s campus. Students registered to win scholarships and internships by applying to The YARD’s THINK BIG NOW innovation pitch competition. Students were asked for ideas on ways to improve their HBCU campus and community. Select students will be invited to pitch their ideas in the upcoming event. Winners will be awarded scholarships and internships, and receive mentorship and support to develop their ideas.

The event will begin on September 14th with the Mayor’s Brunch at 10AM. From 11:30AM to 2PM, the pitch competition will be held in the Benedict College Swinton Campus Center Grand Ballroom. Representatives from Vulcan Materials will be among the judges at the event.

The YARD is the HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) platform for connecting tech, talent and culture to advance innovation, infrastructure and inclusion. Erskine “Chuck” Faush, experienced media professional and CEO at FSE, co-founded The YARD to create new investment opportunities for students and employers, through the use of innovation-focused pitch competitions, debates, and immersive technology studios. “We are going to develop content that will showcase technology and the budding genius that we know are at HBCUs, enhance career pipelines with talent who will go from the classroom to the boardroom, and celebrate the culture that is unique on every HBCU yard.… (in addition) we will bring attention and awareness (to The YARD) at Classic sporting events,” says Faush.

Earlier this year, at the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Birmingham’s Vulcan Materials Company announced its commitment to support academic excellence at HBCUs, particularly in the Southeast. "A more diverse workplace benefits our organization by bringing new perspectives to the business. It advances productivity and performance and improves our ability to appeal to a diverse marketplace," says Darren Hicks, VP of Human Resources, Vulcan Materials Company. Faush and Vulcan partnered on a program at Benedict College in South Carolina and launched The YARD with a $1M commitment to fund scholarships, internships, and grants.

In addition, The YARD partners with the Southern Region Minority Supplier Development Council, based in New Orleans, and Loop Capital, of Chicago.

The YARD tour will return to campuses and events this Fall to host its THINK BIG NOW pitch competitions across the Southeast. The YARD pitch events will take place at Benedict College, North Carolina A&T, Alabama State, Alabama A&M, Tuskegee University, and Tennessee State University.

For more details on the YARD and scheduled tour dates, visit

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