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UTA NAACP members earn national recognition for student chapter, financial and civic engagement

The University of Texas at Arlington student chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People received the College Chapter of the Year award during the NAACP 107th National Convention. 

The UTA NAACP student chapter received the College Chapter of the Year award at the NAACP 107th national convention.

UTA also received the Game Changer for Economic Impact award during the gathering held last month in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme of this year’s conference: “Our Lives Matter, Our Votes Count.”

“Across the nation, we’ve seen young people working to make sure that their voices are heard in meaningful and tangible ways,” said Timothy Quinnan, vice president for the UTA Division of Student Affairs. “We are so proud of our students whose commitment to civic leadership, social justice, civil discourse, educational access and excellence, and economic development resulted in this much-deserved recognition.”

The College Chapter of the Year award is given to the chapter that most exemplifies dedicated and selfless services in the categories of health, education, economic empowerment, criminal justice and voter empowerment. UTA NAACP, the largest student chapter in the nation with more than 130 members, developed programs dedicated to teaching people their rights, as well as helping register the community to vote.

UTA NAACP also hosted #NotAnotherHashtag, a collaboration with Arlington Police Chief Will Johnson to start a discussion between the UTA community and law enforcement. Other notable events include a college tour day, the Gala of Black Excellence and a fundraising campaign for the water crisis in Flint, Mich. 

“As a proud UTA alumnus, the first African-American student body president at UTA, and an NAACP lifetime member, I’m pleased to see the efforts of UTA students recognized at a national level,” said state Sen. Royce West, D-Dallas. “UTA’s commitment to diversity and inclusion helps foster an environment where students are able to excel and achieve their best.”

The Game Changer for Economic Impact award recognizes the student chapter that has done the most to teach its members about financial literacy. UTA NAACP educational programs aligned with this goal taught members how to build credit, apply for a job, purchase a home, and accomplish other education and workplace objectives.

“UTA has been very supportive of our organization by always working with us to give us whatever resources we need, and ensuring that our events run smoothly,” said Yoel Zehaie, past UTA NAACP president and political science senior. “This awards shows that UTA staff presents a great environment for UTA student organizations to prosper and succeed. No matter what the situation is UTA is always there to help us with whatever we need, so we can express ourselves in a productive way.”

Quinnan added that the students’ recognition by the NAACP is a wonderful example of the University’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact. A guiding aspiration of the plan includes transforming the student experience by enhancing access and ensuring success. In addition to moral support, UTA NAACP received financial support from Student Congress, which enabled members to travel to the convention.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization. From the ballot box to the classroom, the thousands of dedicated workers, organizers, leaders and members who make up the NAACP continue to fight for social justice for all Americans. The mission of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is to ensure the political, educational, social, and economic equality of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination.

This year’s convention commemorated the 80th anniversary of the NAACP Youth & College Division. The organization said there are more than 25,000 young people, under the age of 25, representing 700 youth councils, high school chapters and college chapters actively involved in the fight for civil rights.

“I am extremely proud of the UTA NAACP on their recent national acknowledgement of their commitment to human and civil rights on campus and in community,” said Stephen A. Green, NAACP national director of the Youth and College Division. “In this tough national moment of race relations, we need the strong voices of youth leadership to speak courageously.”

--Written by Hillary Green

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie Research-1 “highest research activity” institution of about 55,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at

To learn more about UTA’s Strategic Plan, see Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact.