UNP event bridges gap between U and ethnic communities

By Maureen Klewicki, Staff Writer

At the information table for the American Indian Resource Center, children tossed bean bags at a board as the University Neighborhood Partners offered a day of fun and activities for families.

During its fourth annual “CommUnity Day” at the Union’s Crimson View room, University Neighborhood Partners presented two Bridge Builder Awards to the Mestizo Institute of Culture and Arts and to Clif Uckerman, director of YouthWorks, a drug prevention program for youth.

Along with the awards, the UNP also recognized the 2008-09 Community Scholars in Residence, a year-long award given to members of the community who have helped overcome barriers of race, ethnicity and religion.

David Quijada, education, culture and society professor, Caitlin Cahill, professor of city and metropolitan planning, and Matthew Bradley, a communication professor, received the awards Nov. 15 at the community event.

Cahill said that Quijada, Bradley and herself were given the award for helping create the Mestizo Arts and Activism project.

The group researched what factors prevent high school students from entering college.

“The Mestizo Arts and Activism program provides an opportunity for us to listen to young people whose voices are all too often missing, ignored or excluded from those decisions that affect them,” Cahill said in a statement.

University Neighborhood Partners, located on the west side of Salt Lake City, works with seven ethnically rich communities to help increase students’ access to higher education.

The Community Scholars spent a year serving the UNP in one of four target areas that include youth education and success, said Andrea Page, administration assistant for the UNP.

“The UNP creates a reciprocal bridge where both the community and the U benefit in culture, awareness and respect,” said Mary Burbank, education professor and director of Secondary Education at the U.

The College of Education, along with other centers at the U, was one of many tables surrounding the room offering information on higher education.

The English Skills Learning Center, College of Architecture and Planning, and College of Education were giving out information about their different groups at the event.

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