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Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice

The Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life (OUIL)

The Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life (OUIL) was founded to support students across Rutgers University. 

The Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life (OUIL) was founded to support students across Rutgers University. Under the leadership of ISGRJ Cross-Campus Director, Carlos Decena, the Office will be spearheading mentorship programs and initiatives to support student leadership in diversity, equity, and inclusion across the university. 

Meet The Cross-Campus Director of Undergraduate Intellectual Life 

Carlos Ulises Decena is the Acting Director, and Cross-Campus Director of Undergraduate Intellectual Life at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice, and Professor of Latino and Caribbean Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. He is an interdisciplinary scholar of immigration and queer studies, and his research explores the meeting points of Black, ethnic, and area studies.

OUIL Program Coordinators

The Program Coordinators are an integral part of the Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life. They work closely with the director to coordinate our two main office functions: the RAJU Fellowship and our Student Advisory Board.

Cassandra Vega (SAS & DRC ‘24) is a senior at Rutgers-New Brunswick majoring in Political
Science and double minoring in Latino & Caribbean Studies and Women’s & Gender Studies.
Vega is a co-founder of the Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community (RAJU) and leads the
Student Advisory Board in planning the Racial Justice Summit, the annual tri-campus,
student-led event highlighting racial justice for the broader Rutgers community and
celebrating the accomplishments of the Fellows.

Camila María Belliard (Ph.Dc) is a co-founder and coordinator of the Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community (RAJU). She is a feminist, antiracist, and interdisciplinary social researcher with a background in Social Anthropology. Her professional experience focuses on marginalized black, femme, and queer communities in South America and the Caribbean from the perspective of transnational gender and sexuality studies grounded in the social sciences and the humanities.

The Fellows in Racial Justice Learning Community (RAJU)

The Fellows in Racial Justice (RAJU) Learning Community at the ISGRJ is a universitywide program which aims to identify, accompany and mentor generations of lifelong intellectual activists in racial justice.   

This program, open to all undergraduate sophomores, juniors and seniors from Rutgers-Newark, Rutgers-New Brunswick and Rutgers-Camden, centers and maximizes the intellectual capital and cultural resources of students, many of whom have been systematically disenfranchised and excluded from knowledge production and centers of power.  

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RAJU Fellows

  • The RAJU Fellows Learning Community will mirror the ISGRJ Postdoctoral and Faculty Fellow Program structures in the undergraduate space.
  • We seek to renew, enrich, and maximize on-going racial justice efforts on campus, and honor our historical legacies and democratic promise by impacting social change locally and globally.
  • We provide mentorship and equip students with the critical analysis, knowledge, and skills necessary to be lifelong, trans-national activists focused on racial justice.

RAJU Fellowship Core Values: 

Experiential/Embodied Knowledge

Community Orientation and Ethos of Care

Passion in Social Justice and Activism 

Cultural Responsiveness

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#RUCourageous Social Action Project: Call for Submissions

We are excited to announce the launch of the #RUCourageous initiative, led by our Fellows in Racial Justice (RAJU) Learning Community from the Office of Undergraduate Intellectual Life (OUIL). This social action project, open to all students, faculty, and staff across Rutgers University aims to amplify diverse voices and shed light on the intricate dynamics of race within our campus community. 

Your experiences, perspectives, and reflections matter. Whether you have encountered instances of discrimination, found resilience in the face of racism, or have reflected on the complexities of identity, we invite you to share your story with us. 

By participating in this initiative, you will not only contribute to a collective dialogue about race, but will also be eligible and entered to win the Lomench Endowment Award. We believe that through storytelling, we can foster understanding, empathy, and meaningful change. Your voice matters, and together, we can work towards building a more just, equitable, and inclusive Rutgers University. 

Extended deadline: June 19, 2024

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RU Courageous Call for Submissions - Extended Deadline

The Racial Justice Summit

At the conclusion of their year, the RAJU fellows work on a social action project which will be planned collectively and implemented in the summer of their fellowship year. The program ends with the annual Racial Justice Summit in the fall of each academic year, the culminating event which showcases the year of activity of our RAJU Fellows.

The Racial Justice Summit was designed as the first student-led event to explore the future of racial justice on all three Rutgers campuses, encourage personal and intellectual growth, and engage in nuanced conversations about community, activism, and responsibility.

Watch a Highlight Video of the 2023 Racial Justice Summit

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The 2023 Racial Justice Summit

Educational Equity and Excellence Collaborative

The Educational Equity and Excellence Collaborative (E3C), partners with our outstanding access and equity initiatives at Rutgers, and facilitates an eco-system that is committed to equitable outcomes for New Jersey’s historically underserved populations. Funded in part by a U.S. Department of Education grant, the Collaborative will deepen relationships with K–12 and higher education allies across our state. 

The E3C will support the innovative pre-college access and student success programs across Rutgers by providing opportunities to build capacity and enhance collaboration. The E3C will create a clearinghouse of resources for students, families, and educators, sharing best practices through symposiums and innovation labs, and supporting cutting-edge research. Through the Educational Equity Innovation Fund, the E3C will incentivize faculty and staff to explore ways to increase access and success for students from lower-income and/or other historically underserved backgrounds. The E3C will provide a platform to amplify the enduring Rutgers story of opportunity and excellence to prospective educational and philanthropic partners.