History of the Frederick Douglass Unity House
The Frederick Douglass Unity House was established in 1995 as a part of the UMass Dartmouth's efforts to acknowledge the unique circumstances of its increasingly diverse student body. The Unity House provides a supportive environment for the academic, cultural, recreational, and social pursuits of UMass Dartmouth students of color. It is a co-curricular center where activities and initiatives are designed that challenge, foster, and enrich the cultural life of the UMass Dartmouth community. Through surface, significant, and signature programming, we seek to educate, enlighten, and expose our diverse student, staff, faculty, and community members to the world of diversity.
Frederick Douglass Unity House Vision, Mission and Core Values
Working in partnership with our campus and community, the Frederick Douglass Unity House empowers and transforms the student experience, with particular emphasis on ALANA students, to impact lifelong learning.
The mission of the Frederick Douglass Unity House is to institutionalize, on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus, an environment that nourishes the academic, cultural, informational, and social/communal needs of students, faculty, and staff of color. The Unity House will assist students of color and other ethnic/cultural groups to develop their own sense of cultural identity and self-awareness while providing the university as a whole with a central area for learning more about other cultures and exchanging information about their own.
The FDUH exists to uphold the spirit of its namesake’s vision of universal justice and equality. Accordingly, the Unity House will operate within the university’s vision of access, excellence, innovation, economic development, public service, and diversity to promote a quality of life that appropriately intersects with other cultures, heritage, and identities. FDUH fosters a special awareness and appreciation of the identities, heritage and cultures rooted in African Diaspora. The academic and societal needs of students of African descent are interwoven with the FDUH vision.
FDUH Core Values
The most important value of the FDUH Programs, Services, and Cultural Events is to educate the UMassD Community.
2. Fostering Community
The FDUH fosters a sense of shared responsibility and belonging to our buildings, environment, organizations, and on & off campus community; engaging students to be involved or having ownership of programming and extra-curricular activities.
3. Respecting Difference Through Collaboration
The FDUH operates across organizational boundaries towards achieving desired outcomes; being inclusive, trusting that others are just as responsible; working for the good of the whole and utilizing the diverse strengths of each member of the FDUH staff and student population; cooperation between those who are working together on a task and encouraging each other to agree to disagree well.
4. Social Justice
The FDUH advocating for social justice issues and inclusiveness; accepting, respecting & valuing social diversity among people; being open minded and welcoming to all diverse people and ideas.
5. Developing Leaders
The FDUH creates opportunity for underrepresented students to lead. Through it’s the Lessons and Leadership and Civic Responsibility Seminars these student are encouraged to get involved and to take on leadership responsibilities on campus and in the community. Students are also encouraged to be employed at the FDUH as work study students.
6. Engaging Difficult Dialogue
The FDUH encouraging all participants to engage in difficult dialogue for the purpose of educating and transforming the individual. During these events, the Unity House becomes neutral ground for the given discussions. Rule of civic engagement make these discussions a powerful and transformative experience for all who are willing.
7. Exposing Culture
The FDUH exposes culture through seeking intentional collaborations with indigenous cultures of the Southwest region of Massachusetts i.e. Cape Verdean, Portuguese and those tied to the African Diaspora. FDUH develops quarterly educational or cultural display, invites and supports student cultural events, seek to give students a voice through a series of opportunities writing in our quarterly, leadership, and presentations of talent. The FDUH develops partnerships with the campus academic departments tied to cultural groups and works to collaborate with CVPA, ethnic studies, staff and student in order to expose students to the diversity in the fine arts.
The FDUH creates an environment free from the occurrence of risk of injury, danger, or loss; creating a sense of safety & comfort; being able to admit failure or mistakes and agreeing to disagree without negative repercussions. Practicing civility, and unity in all we do.
The FDUH focus’ on improving the students’ experience on campus; developing programs and events that takes into account the needs & perspectives of current students; Optimizing the students experience through friendly and student centered services and assistance; initiating interactions, with student identity development models in mind.