Black Alumni Network

“The need for people to bond together over common places, interests, needs, goals, and even struggles seems to be human nature," said Ericka Warren, president of the UOAA's new Black Alumni Network. "It's how we form communities."

The Black Alumni Network is open to all, with a focus on celebrating the rich legacy of black students and paving the way for making the UO a more welcome environment for black and African American students. “It’s comprised of a group of leaders and professionals committed to maintaining educational excellence and celebrating the rich legacy of black students at the UO," said Warren.

Currently there are a total of 471 identified black or African American students at the University of Oregon, which represents two percent of the entire undergraduate student body population.

“The ratio of black students on campus has been close to the same for at least the 25 years since I was on campus” Warren said. “The Black Alumni Network is committed to helping to promote the UO as an environment where black students can not only reach their academic goals, but it’s an environment that is safe, welcoming, and an experience that will enrich their lives personally and professionally.

“I would say the most pressing issue at this time in our country, and sadly on the UO campus, is around racial sensitivity and harmony. Just recently we have witnessed racially offensive behavior from a faculty member, and black students are experiencing racial tensions reminiscent to that of the 50s and 60s."

By creating this network, Warren and others hope to diminish these issues and promote an all embracing university.

“The purpose of the Black Alumni Network is to foster a strengthened sense of community among black UO alumni and the university,” Warren said.

The Black Alumni Network hopes to empower and provide support for current black UO students through mentorship and endowment of scholarships, and will seek to find ways to partner with the university to educate and promote inclusion and diversity. Warren expressed her desire to drive financial support at the UO to aid in the effort to recruit and retain black students, faculty, and staff.

“We are excited about the formation of the Black Alumni Network, and believe black alumni will be excited to rebuild a community as well as reconnect with the UO," Warren said. "Allowing for this platform to exist creates an opportunity for identified black students and alumni to show support for an underrepresented group."

Get involved with the Black Alumni Network here.

- Naomi Arthur, UO student