Anyone needing passport services can go to NCCU's passport office in the Alfonso Elder Student Union. Photo by Turiq Wynn.

Need a passport? NCCU office provides services, education

February 21, 2024

According to many educators and career advisers there’s big benefits for American students when they experience international travel. Students learn about another culture. They can practice foreign language skills. They gain a valuable perspective on their own culture and more. In fact, international experience is often considered a bonus on one’s career resume.

In a 2014 survey, 800 executives were surveyed about the need for employees with international travel experience. Across the board, executives agreed that they need employees who have travelled abroad. These employees, they say, have stronger intercultural communication and foreign language skills. They are vital to the globalized marketplace.

Here’s the bad news. On average only about 2.7% of all college students will study abroad. Before the pandemic this totaled about 350,000 study abroad students. Of this number 70% were White and only 5.3% were Black.

A variety of factors explain the low number of Blacks travelling abroad, mostly economic. But one key obstacle is the simple matter of having a passport if or when the opportunity for international travel arises.

The failure of N.C. Central University students to simply have a passport handy is the issue the Feb. 14 Passport Fair in the Alfonso Elder Student Union aimed to address by helping you file the application and taking the required passport photo.

Importantly, unexpedited passport applications can take two months or more to be processed by Homeland Security, assuming it’s been filed correctly. In all, a passport book costs $165, which includes a $35 execution fee. To expedite the filing costs an additional $65.

“It is very important because you never know when you’ll get the opportunity to travel,” said Posha D. Walker, the manager of the Passport Fair. Walker is an administrative support associate in the NCCU mailroom next door to the NCCU passport office.

She said that every student or community member who plans to travel abroad needs to get up and running to get their passport.

Walker described the turnout as “great” adding that “we always open it to our students, faculty, staff and get a lot of attendees through social media, word of mouth, and campus advertisements.”

Jeanine Smallwood, a business officer for Campus Enterprises and a passport acceptance agent, encourages students to take advantage of campus resources available to get their passport.

“If you have a passport, you’ll be ready for any type of exposure,” Smallwood said. “You may have opportunities and you don’t want the lack having a passport to prevent you from traveling.”

The fair was held in response to the growing demand for passports. After the COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions on events and travel were lifted, and passport applications nationwide soared.

The fair wasn’t just limited to NCCU students. Anyone was welcome to come and get informed about getting a passport.

The event asked each participant to bring a completed passport application form (DS-11), evidence of U.S. citizenship and identification. For participants who have recently changed their name, they must provide an official copy of the marriage certificate or court order.

The fair also provided in-person services for photos and renewals for country-specific visas.

For more information, feel free to contact either Porsha Walker at  [email protected].

 

Story by Turiq Wynn

 

 

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Anyone needing passport services can go to NCCU's passport office in the Alfonso Elder Student Union. Photo by Turiq Wynn.
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