This program begins with our Peer Mentors, all of whom are first-generation college students. Peer Mentors will be in charge of a small group consisting of 4-6 students. Small-group participants are mostly underclassmen, but there is no regulation as to who may join. Students from all grades are welcome and encouraged to join the program as well. This program was created to cultivate a sense of community around new students at UD, in order to help them integrate into college life as seamlessly as possible.
We chose to offer our leadership positions to first-generation college students for a reason. There is a clear discrepancy between the success rates of students whose parents attended college and those whose parents did not. We want to fill that gap, and offering students leadership positions will help them realize their potential.
The main meeting aspect of this program consists of two parts: group meetings and office hours.
Peer mentors will be asked to hold 2 office hours each week. These office hours will be held at the location of the peer mentors’ choosing. Peer mentors will also coordinate and host 2 small group meetings each semester.
The purpose of the main meetings is to offer the small group participants a chance to build genuine and trusting relationships with their peer mentors. Our mentors are not necessarily themselves the experts, but they are fully equipped to guide their students to any campus resources that they may need.
Small-Group Socials are planned and coordinated by our peer mentors. They are opportunities for all students at UD to get to know faculty and staff across the University so they know where to go when their needs arise and so that they are comfortable doing so because they know the people in the offices. Socials will likely include faculty from across disciplines and staff from offices such as Financial Aid, OPCD, OSA, Counseling, and the Registrar.
Peer mentors will collaborate with the Office of Academic Success and other offices to plan and advertise socials. Every student is welcome to join, but small group participants are highly encouraged to attend for their own benefit. These socials are meant to encourage social interactions between students and different members of departments on campus. Socials will include things like a game night with campus ministry, lunch with OPCD, or movie night with the librarians.
Checkpoints are an aspect of the program created to encourage students to participate in campus activities. QR codes to an online checkpoint form will be posted around campus so that small group participants can check when they have attended social and academic events on campus (things like going to the writing lab, visiting office hours, attending formal, going to a sporting event). As participants collect checkpoints, they will receive rewards for their participation–such as Capp Bar gift cards and campus swag.