Umoja Black Scholars

Student in Umoja Community

What is the Umoja Black Scholars community?

Umoja, “unity” in Swahili, is a community that aims to cultivate a sense of belonging for Black students at the University of Oregon. This community is designed to meet the social and academic needs of Black students through fostering an understanding of and respect for Black cultures, identities, and histories. This is an inclusive environment that embraces the nuanced, lived experiences of being Black in America. Residents have the opportunity to gain an in-depth awareness of the historic and contemporary experiences of Black people through course work, guest lecturers, programs, and community engagement. 

Why should I choose to live in this community?

The Umoja community provides resources and support for residents’ social and academic needs. Through a Black studies curriculum, residents will become familiar with the evolution of Black history and how that history affects 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 Black students and communities.

Umoja creates a space in the residence halls in which Black 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 belonging 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.  

What are the community expectations?

  • All students will be expected to take an ethnic or Black studies course together in fall term.
  • UGST 112: ARC seminar is required for the entire academic year.
  • Complete the Umoja Black Scholars community agreement.
  • Get acquainted and connected with each other as scholars as well as the greater UO Black community.
  • Explore, discuss, and reflect how your own identities and social locations as Black individuals contribute to or challenge your academic work and experiences while attending a historically and predominantly white institution.


Residence Hall: Justice Bean Hall. Students living in this community will select roommates who are also in the community.

Please note that communities can be moved to different residence hall buildings if the size or need of the community changes.

Student in Umoja Community

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Who is eligible and how do I apply?

The Umoja Black Scholars ARC is for University of Oregon students who identify as Black. Umoja Scholars must be willing to enroll in the ARC courses, as well as participate in the university’s Undergraduate Research Symposium held during spring term. Students can be of any undergraduate class.

  1. Register for University Housing and select the community you prefer in the "Community Preference" section.
  2. Fill out the supplemental questions on your housing application. The program director will be in communication with you over the summer to remind you to fill out the form and determine class placement and details.

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