July 25, 2024

Leading by friendship

This archived article was written by: Casey Warren

One of the greatest things about the USU Eastern campus is the family feel. We don’t have an incredibly large student body so that gives us the chance to get to know people. We have a greater opportunity to connect with others, make friends and help each other out on a more personal level. This is exactly what the new student leadership group on campus, is all about.
A Student Success Mentor is one who reaches out to other students to make sure they are enjoying their time at USU Eastern. These mentors care about what they do; they take interest in students, helping them to have a positive and successful first year of college. They are knowledgeable about campus and its resources so they can better assist students who are looking to take advantage of these tools.
The mentors work under Shanny Wilson. Wilson is the director of retention and first year experience. Returning students may know her from her previous position in academic advising.
When she was put in her new position on campus, Wilson looked for better ways to connect with students. “I really liked the idea of having students helping students because they relate to one another better and it makes a lot of sense. When I visited with my superiors about developing a new leadership program they loved the idea and I immediately started working on the logistics.” She then interviewed and selected each of the mentors on campus this year.
Student Success Mentors have one main focus: new students. They take the time to reach out to their group of about 40 mentees, as often as once every two weeks. They do this mostly by phone calls, asking how the students are doing and if they can assist the student in any way. Fortunately for students, these are not just routine phone calls. The mentors can take time to talk with you and help make your semester a little bit better.
Wilson states, “My hope is that every mentor will develop good working relationships with the students they’re assisting. Communication is key and my plan is to keep my leaders updated on important school information so they can keep their mentees updated as well.”
The mentors got to take part in this year’s New Student Orientation. They helped Wilson with preparation and assisted students during the event. This was the first big activity they took part in and helped direct. The day went well and everyone had a great time. The mentors have opportunities throughout the year to benefit other student leadership groups with their responsibilities. Wilson is most excited about this new group because, “I’m excited to work with my mentors and help them grow as students and leaders.”
The Student Success Mentors are a wonderful resource on campus for all students. They have their small group of mentees, but are available to any student who may need the extra help. Students have great advantages when it comes to the mentors. The greatest advantage that she sees offered is, “having another friend and/or contact on campus.”
Student leadership groups play a big part on our campus. They help students to be heard and they plan fun events for students to attend. Student leaders put in many hours of hard work and are truly dedicated to their positions. The mentors and Wilson hope for success this year and for the program to continue in years to come. These mentors can be a wonderful resource to all those who take advantage of the opportunity. The student body fully welcomes them to campus.