University Neighborhood Partners at the University of Utah celebrates the college graduation of nearly 300 west Salt Lake residents at its first Partners in the Park event June 23, 6 p.m., at Jordan Park, 1060 S. 900 West. This is the largest group of U and Salt Lake Community College graduates from the area since UNP began in 2001.
University Neighborhood Partners aims to connect west Salt Lake residents with higher education in mutually beneficial partnerships—providing opportunities to residents and insights and experience to researchers and students. Since 2003, the population of the area has grown by 10 percent, but the number of U graduates has increased by more than 600 percent, from 25 to 187.
Partners in the Park is an annual event series for west Salt Lake residents that includes a free picnic dinner, crafts, raffles, music, face painting and information tables to connect residents with university departments and community organizations. At the kick-off event, 12 scholarships will be awarded to current or past residents of west Salt Lake City who are high school seniors, have earned a GED diploma, are freshmen undergraduate students or students transferring from a community college to a four-year institution, and who have been involved with UNP partnerships or volunteered with UNP or other west side community partners.
Nearly all of the recipients are first-generation college students, and many are immigrants or from refugee backgrounds. Several are recent high school graduates while others are pursuing graduate degrees in programs as diverse as pharmacology and chemical engineering.
“Through these events, we hope to facilitate the integration of the University of Utah community with west side families to connect with them and talk to the youth about the value of higher education,” said Sarah Munro, director of UNP starting July 1.
The five-week Partners in the Park program schedule follows:
- June 23, Jordan Park, 1060 S. 900 West, 6 p.m.
- July 7, Riverside Park, 739 N. 1400 West, 6 p.m.
- July 14, Sherwood Park, 400 S. 1400 West, 6 p.m.
- July 28, Poplar Grove Park, 800 S. 1200 West, 6 p.m.
- Aug. 4, Northwest Multipurpose Center, 300 N. 1300 West, 6 p.m.