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AFRO (Afrikans for Recruitment and Outreach) Hall

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Group

The AFRO (Afrikans for Recruitment and Outreach) Hall Living Learning Community welcomes first-and second-year students from all cultures within the African diaspora who are interested in exploring their African and black identities while enhancing their collegiate experience through networking and mentorship opportunities, academic support, and community engagement.

The program was established by student leaders of the AFRO Organization to unite students in the African diaspora and to increase the retention and four-year graduation rates through various resources that enhance students’ academic success. As a signature initiative of the AFRO student organization, AFRO Hall provides opportunities for scholars to engage in three student success-driven focus areas:

  1. Community building and cultural capital
  2. Academic excellence and retention strategies
  3. Community outreach and servant leadership

Watch a video introduction to UC Merced's AFRO Hall by clicking here.

Program Requirements

AFRO Hall Living Learning Community residents can move into their residence hall early to attend a pre-term orientation and a three-day retreat in partnership with theSocial Justice Living Learning Community.

AFRO Hall residents are expected to spend 4-6 hours per week engaged with their LLC in activities, including:

  • Enrollment and active participation in the USTU 10 seminar class (for first-year scholars) or in the black identity seminar class (for second-year scholars)
  • Community service totaling at least 8 hours per semester
  • Participation in 4 hours of group study sessions per week
  • Attendance at weekly AFRO Hall community gatherings/meetings
    • These includes AFRO Student Organization’s bi-weekly general body meetings to support overall community building and mentorship through collective education.
    • For the weeks when a general body meeting does not take place, community gatherings will vary in purpose, ranging from workshops and restorative circles to social activities and mentorship opportunities.
  • Active participation in events hosted by the AFRO Student Organization and peer Afrikan/black organizations on campus

AFRO Hall scholars are also highly encouraged to take advantage of opportunities curated for them to thrive throughout and after their college experience, including:

  • Off-campus trips to cultural venues and experiences (museums, theaters, art shows, etc.) each semester
  • The Inclusive Excellence Symposium hosted by the Office of Social Justice Initiatives & Identity Programs
  • Various student retreats (i.e. Social Justice Retreat, Black Excellence Retreat, etc.)
  • Office hours and mentorship hours with Lorene Fisher, coordinator for Social Justice Initiatives & Identity Programs; Dr. Whitney Pirtle, assistant professor of sociology and advisor to AFRO Student Organization and/or Alisha Jones, the AFRO Hall graduate fellow, lead scholar, student coordinator and resident assistant
  • Restorative dialogue circles
  • Guest speakers

Seminar Classes

For first-year students the USTU 10 seminar is a 1-unit pass/no pass class that meets in the evening once a week in the residence hall. This course is designed to help scholars adapt to their new college environment and to transition effectively into their important roles as college students and scholar leaders. Students admitted to the AFRO Hall Living Learning Community will be given more information about how to enroll in the class, including a sample course syllabus to get an idea about the coursework and expectations. This course is taught by AFRO Hall’s graduate fellow.

For continuing students the seminar course on black identity will be taught by AFRO organization’s faculty advisor, Dr. Whitney Pirtle. While this course will be open to any and all students who wish to enroll, second-year students residing in AFRO Hall will be expected to enroll and participate. They will also be provided with unique opportunities to share what they are learning through mentoring relationships and community presentations. Students admitted to the AFRO Hall Living Learning Community will be given more information about how to enroll in the class, including a sample course syllabus to get an idea about the coursework and expectations.

The Benefits and Outcomes of the AFRO Hall Experience

Living and learning as a member of AFRO Hall is a unique experience for a select group of students. Full participation in this program is designed to launch students toward success, both during their collegiate career and following graduation. In addition to the benefits of early move in and direct access to staff, faculty and peer mentors, AFRO Hall scholars will be provided workshops, community gatherings, off-campus experiences and additional resources to reach the following program outcomes.

Program Outcomes for First-Year Scholars

  1. Students will explore the African diaspora and black culture while gaining awareness of their own personal identities through cultural events, seminars, workshops, faculty and student-lead talks/panels and conferences.
  2. Students will maintain a minimum 2.75 grade-point average their first year in the LLC through support, guidance and the delivery of structured programming that supports the holistic development of its members.
  3. Students will help cultivate a safe and inclusive LLC that fosters a sense of belonging in alignment with UC Merced’s Principles of Community to build a support system.
  4. Students will belong to a mentoring dyad as a mentee to facilitate social and professional development opportunities within the AFRO Hall community.
  5. Students will gain the necessary skills in order to adapt to the college environment and successfully navigate their first-year experience through attending AFRO Hall events and enrollment in the introduction to undergraduate studies course USTU 10.
  6. Students will learn to create and maintain a safe space to discuss and reflect on current affairs and be able to engage in healing, restorative and anti-racist practices for everyday life.

Program Outcomes for Second-Year Scholars

  1. Students will explore the African diaspora and black culture while gaining awareness of their own personal identities through cultural events, seminars, workshops, faculty and student-lead talks/panels and conferences.
  2. Students will obtain a minimum of 3.00 grade-point average their second year in the LLC through support, guidance and the delivery of structured programming that supports the holistic development of its members.
  3. Students will help cultivate a safe and inclusive LLC that fosters a sense of belonging in alignment with UC Merced’s Principles of Community to build a support system.
  4. Students will belong to a mentoring dyad as a mentor to facilitate social and professional development opportunities within the AFRO Hall community.
  5. Students will gain the necessary skills to continue to successfully navigate college and expand their second-year college experience through attending AFRO Hall events and enrollment in the black identity course.
  6. Students will maintain a safe space to discuss and reflect on current affairs and be able to engage in healing, restorative and anti-racist practices for everyday life.

How to Apply

African-American students and people interested in exploring black experiences at UC Merced are encouraged to apply. Students must complete the online housing application by the deadline. On the online application, please select AFRO Hall from the drop-down menu of Living Learning Communities. Once an application has been accepted and processed by the housing office, students will be sent an email to fill out a brief supplemental questionnaire to determine their ability to participate in the AFRO Hall Living Learning Community. Once a questionnaire is submitted and reviewed, students will then receive an email indicating if they have been selected to reside and participate in the AFRO Hall Living Learning Community.

If you have additional questions, please email email Lorene Fisher, coordinator for Social Justice Initiatives and Identity Programs at afroterrace@ucmerced.edu with the subject line “AFRO Hall Inquiry.”

If you have specific questions regarding housing, including the cost of housing and meal plans, please visit the housing website.