Ujamaa House was created as a concept in 1970 with a concentration of Black first-year and upperclass students living on east campus, and moved to its current location in 1976. Over the years, this African-American themed dorm has expanded its intellectual focus to include the entire African Diaspora. Their legacy of excellence is fluid and active with frequent speakers and visits by alumni such as college dean and physician, Hilda Hutcherson, actor Sterling K. Brown, writer Brit Bennett, philanthropist and Stanford Board of Trustee Chair, Jeff Raikes, and politician Michael Tubbs.
Ujamaa focuses on the histories, issues, and cultures of the Black Diaspora. The name comes from the Swahili word for “extended family.” This house prides itself on fostering a sense of belonging for all residents by creating a safe environment for open, honest, and sometimes challenging dialogue. Weekly presentations by upperclass students allow residents to deepen their knowledge and understanding of themselves, their peers, and the world. The breadth and depth of topics ensures that Ujamaa is a true living and learning community. This house encourages intellectual vitality and emotion to collide, which leads to robust conversations filled with uncertainty, realness, and laughter. We hope you will join our family some time during your Stanford career.
Jan Barker Alexander Resident Fellows for Ujamaa
Rev. Dr. Sys and Rev. Jon are the Jan Barker Alexander Resident Fellows for Ujamaa House at Stanford University. Sakena (RevSYS) is the Senior Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and pastor of Stanford Memorial Church. She holds degrees from Arizona State University (ASU) and Boston University (BU) and has studied at Harvard and Drew Universities. Jonathan grew up in Kansas City where he leaned into science and mathematics in high school. He attended ASU and BU as well, studying Political Science, History, Ethics, and Theology. He is also an Ordained Clergy Person. Rev. Jonathan has devoted his life to encouraging young minds to think, question, and challenge existing guardrails (this is a research institution). Sakena’s research interests are focused on race, gender, and issues of equity and justice, particularly where they intersect with the imagined world. Sakena has done extensive research in Africana Philosophy, Afrofuturism, Black Science fiction, and “Comicon Culture.” She is a truth-teller and wisdom-seeker. She loves jazz, the performing arts, dogs, all things purple, and immersion in nature.
Jonathan’s interests are equally varied; grounded in social justice issues as they expose themselves in Public Education Systems. Jonathan is a math teacher who plays chess and enjoys classical music and jazz. He really enjoys sports and loves baseball.
Married now for 29 years, they find themselves excited about working with students in Ujamaa House. This dynamic duo is excited about helping to guide and nurture the potential of each person under our residential leadership. We want to encourage each Ujamaa resident to be their best selves. Together they are excited to develop a series of activities for the total student – mind – body – and spirit. Look for activities both on and off campus that highlight the totality of our African diasporic experiences.
Ujamaa focuses on the histories, issues, and cultures of the Black Diaspora.