Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access



Faculty Mentor

Vanessa Volpe


Presented during the 19th Annual Summer Fellows Symposium, July 21, 2017 at Ursinus College.

Project Description

Students of color have lower retention rates compared to other racial groups due to their challenges with academic readiness, social support, financial aid, cultural congruence, and academic involvement. After the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 institutions of higher learning were required to integrate their colleges, but upon integration colleges knew little about how to address the specific challenges students of color face on predominantly white campuses. Issues related to retention for Black students are of a particular concern for Ursinus College, as the average graduation rate of Black students was lower than any other racial group (68%; 2005-2010; IPEDS). While many studies have researched the impact of faculty and student relations as one example of social support, few studies have looked at social support factors beyond the classroom. The purpose of my project is to examine affinity housing as one example of social support, specifically Cloake Hall (African American and Africana Studies House). I will conduct a qualitative analysis using a phenomenological approach to examine past and present Black residents' experiences with community, identity and safety. My research will have implications for the well-being of Black students on predominantly white campuses and campus policy at large.


Available to Ursinus community only.