The African Diaspora Initiative (ADI), founded, in 2020, as a Multicultural Student Services (MSS) program, seeks to serve as an African centered home away from home and oasis for students of diverse African and Black identities.

We strive to enact UVU's core value of exceptional care through culturally responsive holistic student development and well-being approaches in efforts to achieve exceptional results in the area of Inclusive Excellence. We view cultural representation as an essential aspect to wellness which has implications for each of the six areas outlined by the wellness wheel (intellectual, emotional, physical, spiritual, social, and nutritional).

Our work is also rooted in African principles and philosophies such as ubuntu (South African/Nguni Bantu term for interdepence and recognition of humanity) and the nguzo saba (the seven principles of Kwanzaa developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga). We also recognize our historical and social collabations with other BIPOC communities.

Our programming involves cultural celebrations, networking, DEI (diversity equity and inclusion), and leadership development.




Our Student Outreach Coordinators serve as peer mentors helping fellow students navigate the many social and academic challenges of being a college student.

Symbols and Language


Utah Valley University's mascot is the wolverine which represents endurance, toughness, and perseverance.


We strive to find African symbols, concepts, and language which relate to core UVU values.




"Aya (eye–yah) is part of adinkra—visual symbols linked to the (former) Gyaman kingdom (Côte d’Ivoire) and Ashanti culture (Ghana). The word Aya is derived from the Twi language, and is translated to “fern”. Aya is a symbol of endurance, resourcefulness, and defiance against oppression (Kojo Arthur, 2017)"


UVUmilivu (oh-vu-me-lee-vu)

A Swahili term for patience, endurance, and tolerance.


Aya and uvumilivu are African words/concepts which relate the UVU wolverine spirit of endurance, toughness, and perseverance.


Benefit to the University as a Whole

The African Diaspora Initiative contributes significantly to the "come as you are" approach of UVU. Our work is consciously centered in best of African history, culture, and tradition which express the values of dedication, vision, hard work, collectivism, and positive affirmation.


Partnerships reflect the spirit of ubuntu and the third Kwanzaa principle of ujima representing collective work and responsibility.


"The Black Student Union (BSU) at Utah Valley University will strive to foster a sense of community for Black students. It will provide an opportunity for students to express their views concerning current events, academics, culture, arts, and campus life. We envision the Black Student Union to be more than just a club, but a family. Being away from home and family is never easy, so we hope that Black student union can give students an outlet for anything they're dealing with while away in college. Our main focus is on providing a safe space for all Black students of the diaspora. Although we're starting small, we envision great things for the future. In order to promote a better atmosphere for Black students, we, the Black students of Utah Valley University, have created this organization to serve the overall well being of the black student body in the UVU community. We aim to serve as a voice for Black students and to establish a sense of identity, community, and pride. Black Student Union will focus on bringing our diverse culture to the campus, allowing all students to be exposed to our way of life."


"A voice for black students, establishing a sense of identity, community, and pride. A community designed to support a network of black students and all students of the diaspora. We aim to promote togetherness and unity through programs and partnerships that foster conversations and support students’ passions and gifts. Simply put, a home away from home."

Partnership with ADI

UVU's Black Student Union existed long before the African Diaspora Initiative. In tradition with the Black Campus Movement (Rogers), it was the BSU student leaders, in partnership with UVU faculty, staff, and administrative mentors who worked to bring the African Diaspora Initiative to fruition.

We continue this partnership by co-hosting the weekly socials (Thursdays) as well as larger events (Proud to Be African, BHM Roller Skating, African Diaspora Graduation).

We also provide the student club leadership with mentors, food vouchers, letter of recommendation, scholarship opportunities, and a spring leadership transition retreat.



Ngoma y'Africa Cultural Center (NACC) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization established in the year 2016.


"We are dedicated to teaching the community about African cultures and to creating a support network for African descent families in Utah by:


  • Engaging individuals of all ages in various classes and workshops on African arts, cultures, history, traditions, languages, dance, drumming, and Afro Cuisine.

  • Experiencing Africa through stage performances, festivals, intercultural events, and presentations at school assemblies, churches, corporations, marriages, and holiday celebrations such as Black History month, Christmas, and Kwanzaa.

  • Empowering our community by offering resources, youth mentorship, financial literacy and health classes, and by providing performer's scholarships, rental assistance, or stipends.


At our culture learning center, we aim to create a safe environment where different cultures come together in the African spirit of UBUNTU of diversity, humanity, unity, partnership, collaboration, and inclusion."


Founded and lead by UVU alumnus Yvonne Nsabimana, NACC partners with us to provide nurturing African centered and inclusive programs and services for UVU students and community members in Utah County.

NACC provides free dance and drumming classes for UVU students every Friday in the Student Life and Wellness Center.

NACC is also partnering with us on the first African Diaspora Holiday celebration on December 16th at 8:00 PM.



Expect the Great (ETG) is an Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) free college and career awareness and readiness event for African, African American, Black students and communities in Utah.


Cultural Envoy Leadership Program


"Cultural Envoy is a UVU sponsored leadership program that validates students' cultures and supports their pathway to completion. As a student in the Cultural Envoy Program you will learn to navigate and negotiate your experience at UVU, your community, and other critical spaces that you may celebrate as important.

The program is open to all students who want to understand and refine facets of their culture, identity, and lived experiences to facilitate their development as scholars, change agents, and stewards of a globally interdependent community."


"As our students create, perform, view, and interpret dance as a socio-cultural phenomenon at UVU they will be engaged in transforming their ideas from a classroom setting to dance floor. In learning about dance forms of diverse cultures, we come to appreciate the cultural stories of people, in the past and in the present time, and validate the student experience outside of the classroom."

Partnership with ADI

CELP maintains an African diaspora section of CELP. The ADI works in partnership with the program director of CELP to find resources for student leaders in the section. The section also supports ADI events with performances.