There is a program at UA for both new students who need advice for college life and any experienced student who is willing to give that advice.
The Office of Multicultural Development’s peer mentoring program has been around for more than 20 years, but recently has been growing and flourishing.
“[Peer mentors] help with any questions that new students may have—helping them get acclimated with campus, with getting connected and involved, and with figuring out what their resources are and where they can go to get help,” said Autumn Frampton, associate director of Academic Support Services.
In its first year, there were around 10 mentors for 200 people. This year, 741 new students are being mentored by 49 mentors.
Each mentor must be an undergraduate student and have already completed two semesters of school, while each student being mentored is usually in their first year. Frampton added that next year the program is looking to have 65 or 70 peer mentors.
This program is the largest peer mentoring program on campus. It recruits new students through events, target emails throughout the summer, and orientations throughout the year. Its largest presence is on New Roo Weekend.
Though the formal mentoring only happens for one year, the effects of a mentor’s relationships are long-lasting.
“A lot of people will get mentored that first year and then maintain contact with their mentor thereafter,” Frampton said. “They tend to make connections and then keep them.”
Mentoring is not limited to the eight-to-five office hours of the Office of Multicultural Development, either. Ashley Daniels, a current mentor, does more than sit down and talk.
“I actually do yoga with my “mentees” and workout with them,” Daniels said. “There are some students that have advising or academic problems, for which they come to the office, but most of my “mentees” are more concerned about their emotional and social connections here on campus.”
Each mentor typically has around 20 students that they mentor.
“It starts out very time-consuming, but as you get the hang of it and start to meet people, they become your friends,” Daniels said.
The program is currently accepting students who wish to be mentored; it is also accepting applications for those who want to be mentors for August through May of next year. Those interested can fill out the applications online at UA’s Academic Support Services website.
The program benefits all students. Those being mentored can transition more smoothly into college life, while those mentoring receive fulfilling experiences and connections.
“We like to attract helpers. We are looking for people who are committed to not only their own success but the success of others,” Frampton said.