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Umoja Pan-African Scholars

Umoja Pan-African Scholars

What is the Umoja Pan-African Scholars community?

Named after the Swahili word for “unity,” the Umoja community aims to cultivate a sense of belonging for students of African descent at the University of Oregon. This community was designed to meet the social and academic needs of Black-identified students through fostering an understanding of and respect for Black cultures, identities, and histories. Residents are provided the opportunity to gain an in-depth awareness of historic and contemporary experiences of African-Americans through course work, guest lecturers, programs, and community service. 
 

Why should I choose the Umoja Pan-African Scholars community?

The Umoja community will provide resources and support for residents’ social and academic needs. Through a Black studies curriculum, residents will become familiar with the evolution of Black racial histories and how those histories affect their contemporary experiences and the development of intersecting identities both locally and globally. Connections between scholarship and experience are further developed through cocurricular programming, which includes seminars, events, guest speakers, and professional development opportunities. This combination of curricular and cocurricular programming is designed to encourage personal exploration and intellectual growth among Umoja scholars, with a goal of nurturing both individual and community empowerment for students and communities of African descent.
 

What classes will we take?

Incoming students who apply to Umoja are required to enroll in the ARC’s courses. Umoja is designed to fulfill the University’s Multicultural Course Requirement, which is in place for all students. In fall term, all Umoja Scholars will be pre-enrolled in ES 101: Introduction to Ethnic Studies (4 credits), including an ARC-specific, Black-centered discussion section.  Students will also enroll in a one-credit ARC seminar each term.  The seminars meet for 60-90 minutes each week, and are specifically designed for Umoja, by Umoja faculty, and may explore topics around: Black history; Blackness in Pop Culture; Race and Politics, etc.  
ES 101 satisfies specific major/minor and Social Science group requirements. 

Location

This community is located in the Living Learning Center. Please note that Academic Residential Communities can be moved to different residence hall buildings if the size or need of the community changes.
 

Who is eligible and how do I apply?

The Umoja Pan-African Scholars ARC is for students who are eligible to live in University Housing who identify as Black and part of the African Diaspora. Umoja Scholars must be willing to enroll in the ARC courses, as well as to participate in the University’s IMPACT (peer mentoring) program as either a mentor or mentee. Students can be of any undergraduate class. You can add the Umoja Pan-African Scholars ARC to your University Housing application.
 
Students who have already completed the ARC courses, as well as graduate and professional school students, are encouraged to apply to live in the same hall as the ARC, and to be a part of cultivating a broader sense of understanding of racial justice issues within the community through participation in the ARC’s cocurricular activities.  
 
If you have questions, please feel free to e-mail the Community Director (nerilus@uoregon.edu) in University Housing.  If you have already completed your housing application, you can update your current application.
 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the benefit of living on the floor with Umoja?

Umoja creates a space in University Housing in which Black/Pan-African students can come together, grow in their own identities, and learn about the diversity of the Diaspora by sharing a home with each other. It is also meant to create safety that will allow for Black wellness, community-building, and academic success.

All students who live with Umoja receive support in the above areas of learning, as well as utilizing community resources, navigating campus, decision-making, and leadership development. There are two resident assistants living on the floor with the scholars, who will act as mentors and assist students in their success.

Umoja will also offer opportunities on campus, off campus, and in the state and region for students to grow in Black-centered professional development, personal success, decision-making, and wellness. Some of these opportunities will also be open to Black non-ARC members.  

How many people can participate in Umoja?

Twenty-five to thirty students can enroll in the ARC courses. The community where Umoja will be housed can accommodate up to 80 students.

Are there any additional costs to live in Umoja?

No, there is no ARC enrollment cost! For the 2017-18 academic year, Umoja will be housed in the Living-Learning Center. The rooms in the Living-Learning Center cost more than traditional rooms in other halls, but there is financial assistance available for a limited number of interested applicants. All students, regardless of financial need, are encouraged to apply through My Housing. Be sure to select “Umoja Scholars” as your choice on the application.    

Can non-freshmen live with Umoja?

Yes! Living with Umoja is open to students of all graduating classes, as well as graduate and professional school students. We encourage non-freshman to apply to Umoja in order to create a larger community of support and mentorship! All interested students should apply through My Housing.

Can I live in another residence hall and still be a part of Umoja?

Umoja’s courses are open only to students who live with the ARC in the Living-Learning Center. Black students who live in a different residence hall, or who live off-campus, are welcome to participate in Umoja’s events that are open to non-ARC members. Black students who are not participating in the ARC will still be welcome to visit the floor and build community as guests of Umoja Scholars.

Besides courses (for freshmen), what do I have to commit to as part of Umoja?

All Umoja Scholars are required to work with each other as a mentor or mentee through UO’s IMPACT peer-mentor program.