African Diaspora Initiative offers opportunities to black students

The African Diaspora Initiative offers scholarship and leadership opportunities to Black students on campus, and seeks to build community among students. Illustration by Kate Hickman.

The African Diaspora Initiative offers scholarship and leadership opportunities to Black students on campus and seeks to build community among students.

“Our collective mission is to serve as a home away from home and to provide scholarship, networking, and leadership opportunities for students of the African Diaspora,” ADI’s website reads. 

Diaspora, as defined by DePaul University, refers to the “dispersion of a people, language, or culture that was formerly concentrated in a single place that has scattered, been displaced, or living in separate communities.” The term African Diaspora, also defined by DePaul University, refers to the voluntary and involuntary movement of Africans and their descendants to various parts of the globe.

As stated in its mission statement, ADI strives to help Black students in and around campus to succeed by providing various opportunities to get involved and to thrive in their own right. The African Diaspora Initiative Scholarship, for example, is offered to those who display high leadership and service to UVU’s Black community.

“The initiative has given out a few scholarships to students,” said Emmanuel Omaria, the student community outreach and engagement coordinator for ADI. “[It has] helped connect students to different resources on campus to help in the students’ success on and off campus.”

The initiative’s notable impact on students was expressed by Deborah Colimon, a sophomore studying psychology and autism studies. A first-generation student of Haitian descent, Colimon found a new drive with the initiative to succeed.

“The African Diaspora Initiative scholarship has really helped me in numerous ways,” states Colimon on the ADI website. “I was able to achieve new academic goals this last year and bring my GPA up. I was able to release the mental and financial burdens and stress of having to pay for extra class materials, textbooks, labs and more. It allowed me to be prepared for the semester and be able to really focus on my learning and education instead of stressing over the costs of things.”

Along with scholarships, ADI seeks to connect students with fellow peers, alumni, staff and community partners to help students to build wellness and support their development in life. ADI is a participant in the Expect The Great conference, which begins in March, seeks to connect Black Americans to career awareness and college opportunities.

Working closely beside the Black Student Union on campus, ADI also hosts a variety of leadership opportunities. Through BSU, ADI provides weekly meetings for mentorship and leadership development opportunities. They are also responsible for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Week on campus.

For more information about ADI and their student opportunities visit their website; for more information about BSU visit here; for more information on the Expect the Great Conference visit here.

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