Young, Gifted, and Black group to début

Young%2C+Gifted%2C+and+Black+group+to+d%C3%A9but

African-American students on campus will have the chance to participate in a new, unique community next fall.

University of Iowa students in the residence halls live together in living-learning communities — groups of people who have similar majors, interests, or hobbies. Next year, the UI will pioneer its first such group specific to a race.

The Young, Gifted, and Black group will be open to African-American students, located on one co-ed floor in Slater Hall, housing around 40 students.

“This came from a proposal that some current students wrote for us,” said Amy Baumgartner, the assistant director of residence education for UI Residence Life. “We took a look at it, and it was an amazing proposal, so we wanted to make a commitment to the students to make it happen.”

The UI is including the community in its marketing to prospective students as they sign up for housing for the 2016-17 year. University officials are also sending out mailings to students who identify as African American to inform them that they are eligible for the community, if they are interested.

But not all African-Americans students would necessarily opt to join a race-specific community. UI freshman Austin Hughes, who is African-American, said he would not have been interested.

“I come from a diverse place, so I couldn’t see myself living with one specific group of people,” he said. “I thrive on diversity of backgrounds and thought, but I could see how it would be good for people who have trouble finding people who look like them.”

However, Baumgartner said she has heard from several current African-American students that they wish this group had been an option when they lived in the residence halls.

“We heard loud and clear from the students that there are a lot of African-American students who feel marginalized, so it’s to give them a place where they feel at home and their identity is supported,” Baumgartner said. “Not every student identifies that way will want to live there, but it’s an option for those who do.”

Any new community is required to be associated with an academic department, so “Young, Gifted, and Black” will collaborate with the African American Studies department. In Slater, they will be located near the Afro-American Cultural Center.

Baumgartner said officials want to include faculty and staff as mentors and reach out to student groups so upperclassmen can get to know the students in the community.

Because it is the first of its kind, some people on campus look forward to see how the group turns out.

Facebook Comments