Brotherhood Initiative

Frequently Asked Questions

2021 End-of-Year Picnic on the Quad

What is the Brotherhood Initiative?

The BI is a cohort-based program designed to create community and provide support for undergraduate men of color (Black, Latino, Native American, Pacific Islander, and Southeast Asian who identify as male) at the University of Washington. We provide a variety of resources and programs for BI Scholars throughout the college journey, and even after graduation.

Is the BI a fraternity?

No, the BI is not a fraternity. We intend to build and create a space and community where scholars think of each other as brothers. Participation in the BI does not mean you cannot participate in fraternal organizations on campus. Many of our scholars also participate in fraternities (both social and academic) organizations on campus.

What does cohort/group-based learning mean?

Our cohort-based learning model means that you enroll in the program with a group of other BI students who are entering UW at the same time, and you progress through the learning experience together. This structure helps to build community, collaboration, and support among your cohort of BI Scholars.

How many students are usually in one class/cohort?

Starting in 2022, the BI cohorts have doubled in size from enrolling approximately 30 students to enrolling 60+ first-year students for the following cohorts. As of now we currently have a total enrollment of approximately 200 BI students! 

Is the BI a course? If so, how many credits and quarters?

BI Scholars take two seminars together with their cohort, during their first and second year at UW. Each course is two credits per quarter, for three quarters (one year). However, the BI is so much more than a course! We also offer a peer mentoring program, social events, leadership opportunities, academic and career resources, and individualized support.

What do we learn in the seminar courses? What have been the main themes discussed in classes? What are some examples of projects? 

The first-year seminar focuses on providing BI students with the awareness, resources, skills, and tools necessary to succeed in their first year of college. Topics that we cover in class range from time management to identity. Some of the projects that students have worked on include an oral history project and a group video.

The second-year seminar explores the process of creating positive societal change. Students work in small groups to identify a problem of interest that impacts their own communities and then develop a small-scale project to address that problem. This experience provides students with meaningful opportunities to work closely with others in their cohort to solve real problems over an extended period of time.

What is the commitment level to being a part of the BI?

During freshmen and sophomore year, you are required to take part in a year-long two credit seminar that meets weekly for just under 2 hours. Throughout the entirety of your undergraduate career, you are required to meet with your BI advisor once a quarter for a 30-minute check-in meeting. If you are placed on an academic plan, more meetings with your BI advisor may be required. Outside of those requirements, all of our social programming that happens outside the classes are HIGHLY encouraged to make the most out of your BI experience, but they are not required.

What happens to your level of involvement in the BI after your freshman and sophomore year? What are additional ways to stay involved?

Once in the BI, you’re always in the BI (even after you graduate). We host programs and events that are open to all Scholars, as well as programs that are cohort-specific, so that cohort members can continue to engage with each other. Additionally, if you want to take a leadership role within the BI, you can serve as a peer mentor, peer mentor lead (for returning peer mentors), or as an officer in the BI student-led RSO, Brothers in Color. Occasionally, we also have undergraduate student assistant employment opportunities within the BI.

How would being a part of the BI benefit me?

Joining the Brotherhood Initiative offers invaluable support and mentorship for men of color. The BI creates a community where you can thrive personally and academically, fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment. Through its robust mentorship, workshops, advising, and networking opportunities, you can enhance your academic performance, and develop leadership skills, creating lifelong connections that will contribute to your success during your time at UW and beyond! 

How and when can I apply?

Applications are available for each incoming cohort in mid-March, once all students have been notified of their admission to the University of Washington. The application is an online application that should take no longer than 30 minutes to complete and can be found on the application page on our website. Our priority application due date is May 3rd every year.