Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Village Mentoring Program’s goal is to assist students of color during their transition into college as navigating a new campus can be daunting.
Officially starting the spring semester of 2020, the program first was brought up in the fall semester of 2019 which was endorsed and supported by the previous MNSU President, Richard Davenport.
This program’s main objective is to assist and support students of color in navigating their overall college experience.
“Research shows that mentoring programs help students find a sense of connectiviness and community. When it comes to our black, brown, BIPOC and students of color other institutions have similar programs that are deemed to be successful so that’s why I proposed we should have one as well,” said Kenneth Reid, founder of the Village Mentoring Program and Director of African American Affairs.
“There may be some angst as a result coming to a new institution, but we can minimize that by having you enrolled in this program and connecting you with someone who can hold your hand and be your support system,” Reid added.
Not only does the program help students academically, it also supports them socially and personally.
“My goal is to make sure that the students are getting their needs met, or whatever personal goal that they bring. I want them to have the confidence and have this supported structure,” Javiann Lewis, the Village Mentoring Program coordinator and graduate assistant for African American Affairs stated.
“Some of my duties are to not only support the mentors but also to support the mentees. This can include facilitating conversations or facilitating the connections because some students are a little more shy and need a bit of encouragement,” said Lewis.
All together there are about 100 students who are part of the Village Mentoring Program.
Matching mentors with mentees consists of filling out an application that asks simple questions of a student’s interests and hobbies as well as their major and academic interests.
Regarding the mentor and mentee relationship, they are able to meet at any time that works for them and are recommended to meet about once a month.
The program is also offered to second year students and encourages them to join as well as any student who has been put on academic probation.
To keep the engagement up they also host workshops and other social events about once a month with most of the events taking place in the Multicultural Center.
Other goals the program strives for include, as stated on the MNSU website, “Improve retention rates of students of color at MNSU, create an environment where students find affinity with one another as well as gain a sense of community, and educate students about campus resources and opportunities that will help them graduate and achieve personal success.”
The program is always on the lookout for new mentors and mentees as students can apply on the MNSU website.