BIPOC students take the lead at UVU with student-led clubs and organizations

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BIPOC is an acronym referring to “Black, Indigenous and People of Color,” according to The BIPOC Project. In the Fall 2020 semester, over 20% of UVU students self-identified as a race or ethnicity other than “white,” according to UVU’s Institutional Research on Inclusion and Diversity. In addition to programs and departments on campus, more of which can be read about here, there are several on-campus clubs to support communities of color.

Information on official UVU diversity and inclusion services can be found in a corresponding article

The Black Student Union 

The Black Student Union (BSU) at UVU “Serves to promote culture and education through a sense of community at Utah Valley University,” said Jaymie Hopoate, vice president of the BSU. “Our group is here to help specifically black students on campus to have a safe place to be themselves and have a family away from family. We also want to educate all students at UVU on what it is like being black at a predominantly white university. Our role is to invite and educate students.” 

The BSU holds weekly meetings on Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Multicultural Center. Information about the group can be easily found through the BSU Instagram page (@uvu_bsu) or on their Facebook page. They also have a newsletter, which can be joined by emailing [email protected]. Students can learn more or get involved by messaging the Instagram account or by talking to President Dinah Kibwe, or Vice President Jaymie Hopoate, during the weekly meetings. 

What should students know about the BSU? 

“BSU can be mistaken for only black members. However, everyone, especially allies, are welcome,” said Hopoate. “If you are feeling nervous or hesitant, just know that we are a very welcoming group that come from different backgrounds in the diaspora. We are always happy to see new members, and we want you to come and join.” 

The Center for Global and Intercultural Engagement houses the Office for Global Engagement, International Student Services and Multicultural Student Services. Photo by Tyler Hacking.

The Black Student Union is located in the Center for Global and Intercultural Engagement office, and can be found through the African Diaspora Initiative office in LA 114R. 

Instagram: @uvu_bsu

Facebook: UVU Black Student Union 

Students United for Reproductive Freedom 

Students United for Reproductive Freedom (SURF) is a club on campus that “Involves advocacy and education for reproductive freedom, period poverty, [and] sexual assault awareness” said club President, Natalie Williams. The group takes an intersectional approach to these issues: “We understand how experiencing oppression based on various parts of your identity can further inhibit reproductive freedom,” said Williams. SURF is a place for students who care about and want to advocate for reproductive freedom for all, including people of color, the unsheltered, LGBTQ+, immigrants and the disabled. 

There is no SURF office on campus, but club meetings and events are usually held in the Clarke Building or the Fulton Library. Look for the SURF table on campus every other week where they distribute pamphlets, resources, safe sex kits, condoms and even candy. 

Students who want to be involved or learn more can follow SURF on Instagram, or join the club newsletter by emailing [email protected]. The Instagram and newsletter include details about events and activities sponsored by the club. They meet weekly in the fall and spring semesters and hold events at least once a month, including a book club and various service projects. 

Instagram: @surf_uvu

Native Wolverine Association 

The Native Wolverine Association is a club that provides support and community for Indigenous students. Their statement reads: 

“The Native Wolverine Association (NWA) is a student club at Utah Valley University. The club welcomes all who are interested in Indigenous tribes of the United States and Canada. Its purpose is to promote a sense of community for Native American students at UVU and to increase educational opportunities and strengthen student support services for Native Americans. The community extends to past, current, and future Native UVU students, as well as those who work with UVU’s Multicultural Student Services and UVUSA. NWA organizes campus events to share Native American culture and raise funds to promote educational programs.” 

The NWA can be contacted through phone or email. 

Phone: 435-444-9853

Email: [email protected]

These clubs represent a preliminary list of resources available to BIPOC students and other minority groups. Information on further resources to support student success can be accessed here, and a list of UVU clubs can be found here.