Clark Atlanta University alumni Heather Haynes has been honored by Nike as an HBCU Yardrunner. Partnering with the company, Haynes designed a pair of sneakers through them. Titled the Nike Dunk Low’ Clark Atlanta University,’ it centers around a black, red, and gray color palette. Written on the laces is her alma mater motto, “Find a Way or Make One,” and the Panthers’ logo on the soles and tongue.
As a new member of the Yardrunner’s collection, Haynes said, “I want CAU [Clark Atlanta University] students and alumni to feel proud and inspired.”
She continued to talk about the impact she wanted to make on her old campus.
“I would like current students to take pride in knowing that their HBCU is important to huge corporations like Nike– so they should take their education seriously and cherish the time that they are spending on campus. I want alumni to wear their sneakers as a reminder of where they came from and to have pride in showcasing their love for their HBCU out in the world.”
Haynes explained that she allowed her experience at the HBCU to guide her in endeavors beyond graduation and that it was only natural to partner with Nike because of her love of the shoe game.
“My love for sneaker culture began when I was a kid seeing my older brother collect East Bay magazines and highlight the sneakers he wanted. Naturally, as a little sister, I wanted whatever he wanted, and that included cool sneakers. It wasn’t until middle school that I started to define my personality and personal style and started to want exclusive sneakers that no one else was wearing. I was into uniqueness more so than what was popular at the time,” she recalled.
“Attending CAU also gave me a distinct level of experience and knowledge about the culture[…]The biggest takeaway was the network of folks you meet while in school that grow up to become label execs, PR execs, artists, etc. It’s amazing to see and allows me to use my network to help connect the dots while I navigate the industry,”
Using her love and knowledge of the cultural industry, Haynes wants to show others that it’s possible to make an impact on the world around them through the education they receive at CAU. “My advice is the same advice Spike Lee gave me right after I graduated from CAU. Work your ass off.”