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Fri, Feb 25


Via Zoom

Improving Students' Sense of Belonging by Addressing their 21st Century Basic Needs

This will be a closed invitation-only session for USU Coalition members.

Improving Students' Sense of Belonging by Addressing their 21st Century Basic Needs
Improving Students' Sense of Belonging by Addressing their 21st Century Basic Needs

Time & Location

Feb 25, 2022, 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM EST

Via Zoom

About the Event

USU is excited to announce the launch of the next Advancing Racial Justice & Equity (ARJE) Intensive and Pitch Competition on February 24 and 25! With the support of the Thriving Students Advisory Group, the theme for the February Intensive and Pitch Competition will center on improving students’ sense of belonging by addressing their 21st century basic needs. We are looking for innovative projects which center on the experience of the 21st-century learner and consider their basic holistic needs.

This competition is open to USU’s entire membership of 40 public urban universities. Award winners must directly partner with external organizations to advance their work. Each award winner will work closely with USU over the course of 12 months to collect data, monitor progress, evaluate outcomes, and disseminate project findings.

What to Expect:

  • The two-day event will kick off with a condensed idea-sharing intensive meant to spur innovation and action around university-led approaches to addressing inequities on campus and/or in the community. We will have national experts join us in an important discussion on addressing today’s learners’ basic needs.
  • On the second day, participants will present their video pitches to their peers. The winning pitch will receive a $20,000 mini-grant! The competition is an opportunity for universities and community partners to articulate new or ongoing projects designed to improve outcomes for stakeholders in the university-city ecosystem and receive feedback from their peers in the education community.

How to Enter the Competition:

  • Submit an email of intent to participate indicating team member names, titles, and emails to Mitzy Gonzalez at by Wednesday, February 16th.
  • Submit a group video pitch, project overview document, and a signed letter of support by the university President/Chancellor to by Wednesday, February 23.
  • Participate in the two-day event on February 24 (12:00 - 4:00 pm EST) and February 25 (12:00 - 2:30 pm EST).

We will accept one pitch idea per university. Please note that past ARJE Scholar Winners can participate but not win the $20,000 mini-grant. For additional information about the pitch competition submission guidelines and evaluation criteria, please visit here. If you have any questions about the competition, please contact Mitzy Gonzalez at

To see submissions to past ARJE Intensive and Pitch competitions, click here. Portland State University won the September ARJE Intensive and Pitch Competition centered on increasing university diversity and inclusion through the development of a leadership academy for employees from minoritized backgrounds. View their winning submission here.

Please share this opportunity with your colleagues. We look forward to seeing your team’s submission!

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