Center for Diversity & Inclusion  
   

About the Peer Mentor Program

 
Purpose
Research* shows that personalizing a campus encourages students from underrepresented backgrounds to feel more part of the community. The Center for Diversity & Inclusion Peer Mentor Program is designed to increase underrepresented student involvement and success by promoting community building, academic excellence, cultural engagement and spiritual exploration. Interested students will be matched with an upper-class mentor for their first two semesters at Aquinas.
*Canton, M.E, & James, D.P.(1999). Mentoring in Higher Education: Best Practices. Los Gatos, California: Robertson Publishing.
 
Program Impact

When connected with a college mentor, students are more likely to seek answers and resources that can assist in their transition. Actively participating in one‘s education increases the likelihood of persisting and graduating. Incoming students and their families invest in participation because they recognize the value of connecting with a support person that can relate to their background and experiences while offering perspective on navigating the first year.

 
Many of our mentors feel they’ve benefited greatly from a one-to-one support connection in their own first year transition. For that reason, our peer mentors are committed to making a difference in the lives and success of new students. Having a trained peer mentor and program staff who are intentionally focused on supporting your needs as an incoming student of color can mean the difference between a good college experience and a great one.
 
Benefits of having a Peer Mentor

There are many benefits to having a person "on your team" as you navigate your first year at Aquinas. Apart from offering academic advice, a mentor can help you:

  • Connect with resources that will make your college transition smoother.
  • Meet others with similar interests, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • Get familiar with your college campus more easily.
  • Overcome challenges and offer encouragement.
  • Identify clubs and activities on campus that will help you hone your leadership skills.
  • Learn to advocate for yourself throughout college.
  • Find opportunities to get involved in the Greater Grand Rapids community.
 
Mentee Commitments
  • Believe in yourself! We recognize your potential and want to help you achieve success.
  • Commit to actively participating for two semesters.
  • Keep open communication. Your mentor will be contacting you throughout both semesters to schedule one-on-one meetings. Make sure you are an engaged participant.
  • Speak up when you are feeling overwhelmed. If you are struggling, be honest with yourself and your mentor in order to confront obstacles and get back on a positive track.
  • Be present for the Program's Fall social/orientation (August) and the end of the year gathering (April).
  • Attend two events each semester that support academic, social, spiritual or cultural enrichment.
  • Have fun! Our peer mentor program is a great way to expand your relationships and get better acquainted with campus resources.