TSG to begin new peer mentorship program

More than 70 students have applied to be mentors for students who struggle adjusting to college.

An anonymous source alleges Temple Student Government's Senior Leadership Team, including Kayla Martin (left), the vice president of services, Student Body President Tyrell Mann-Barnes and Paige Hill, the vice president of external affairs, tried to sway the 2018-19 executive elections in favor of VoiceTU, but both deny this allegation. | GENEVA HEFFERNAN FILE PHOTO

Temple Student Government opened applications for a Peer-Mentorship Program earlier this month. It is meant to connect freshmen, transfer students, students of marginalized groups and commuter students with on-campus resources through a partnership with student leaders.

The applications will remain open until Sept. 5.

The Peer-Mentorship Program will match mentors and mentees based on interest, demographics and what they want to get out of the program, said Kayla Martin, TSG’s vice president of services.

“Our goal was to have a program that was leaning toward students that traditionally have a hard time adjusting to life at college,” said Melissa Eisgrau, TSG’s director of academic affairs. “We aimed the program at commuter, international, immigrant, first-generation and transfer students.”

Mentors and mentees will be required to meet two to three times during the semester and will be given a list of resource categories, to which mentors should expose their mentees. These include categories like community engagement through volunteer work and aspects of campus life like football games and on-campus events.

“Instead of having it be rigid, we want to have [mentors and mentees] make it what they want it to be,” said Almas Ayaz, director of campus life and diversity. “We want our mentor and mentee to find something that works for them. We want to know what they’re looking for from this program and then find a mentor or mentee that has had those same experiences.”

Mentors are interviewed after applying online and matched with a mentee who has similar goals for the semester-long mentorship. For example, students who are interested in a certain aspect of campus involvement like leadership or academics would be matched with a mentor who shares those values, she added.

TSG has received more than 70 applications for 30 mentor positions so far, with more mentors applying than mentees, Martin said.

TSG has been promoting the program on social media, but Ayaz said she wants to do more to advertise the program in-person.

“We’re looking to get into academic listservs and reach out to different organizations,” she said. “I’m an RA, so I’m going to be knocking down doors, making sure we can get as many people from as many different places as possible.”

TSG also plans to promote the program at TempleFest, Eisgrau said. TempleFest is a Student Activities event held during Welcome Week where student organizations like TSG and other on-campus departments promote their events and services. Two TempleFest events were held last week, with another on Wednesday.

“I want incoming students to feel like TSG helped their transition to college,” Martin said. “I want them to see where they can go and what they can do.”

Keeping accountability between mentors and mentees may be challenging, Ayaz said.

“We need to make sure we, as TSG, can find the balance of giving [mentors and mentees] the power to keep the conversation and do it at their will, but also make sure there’s enough structure,” she added. “The mentors should be checking up, doing whatever they can and going out of their way as much as they can to help their mentees. At the end, they’ll both get out of this program what they put into it.”

“Having a student who can guide you to organizations or people who really resonate with you can be really special,” Ayaz said. “A lot of people have a hard time knowing where to find those people.”

CORRECTION: The article previously misstated the number of applicants for the Peer-Mentorship Program. More than 70 students applied so far. 

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