The Office of Social Change and Intercultural Engagement (SCIE) hosted its RISE Institute, which is a part of the CONNECT Mentorship Program. The Institute allows incoming first year students of color to come to SMU 6 days prior to the first day of class for an intense introduction to the university. Different offices and resources across the university come and provide the students with information they need to know as they transition into the university.
This year was a very successful year. There were 407 attendees at the Family Reception, 107 attendees at The Connect Institute, and an Ice Cream Social with 75 participants. Over 100 students attended an Organization Meet and Greet which introduced the students to multicultural organizations.
“I love Connect because I got to meet so many people and make so many new friends before school started!”– Robin Kinagomba, SMU ’25. Robin Kinagomba is a Biology major, from Wylie, Texas and is affiliated with Mary-Hay, Peyton, Shuttles Commons.
“I love Connect because I met my mini me’s.” – Dinobi Onyeagocha, SMU ’23. Dinobi Onyeagocha is from Germantown, Tennessee, double majoring in Health and Society and Psychology with a minor in Health Sciences and is affiliated with Loyd Commons.
The Connect Institute makes sure that students are not only prepared to make the transition to college life, but to thrive and lead during their time in school. The program offers leadership development and goal setting workshops, dinners and receptions with SMU faculty, staff, and alumni, and connections to other invaluable resources on campus. A popular segment in the programming is the Real Talk panel, which gives first years the chance to ask mentors questions about student life without administrators in the room.
The CONNECT Mentorship Program acts as a valuable resource for students during their time at SMU. Mentors assist their mentees with adjusting to college life, major selection, and general support and encouragement. After the Connect Institute programming ends, mentor small groups meet throughout the school year and even attend other Connect and SCIE programs together.
“I love Connect because I got to make friends, learn about new resources, and have fun.”
– Feaven Fasil, SMU ’25
Additionally, because the dates of the Connect Institute do not overlap with Stampede, participants in Connect are still able to fully engage in the Stampede activities with the rest of their class before the start of the academic year.
Connect with SCIE to get more involved in programs such as the Connect Institute. You can visit the SCIE website to learn more and can subscribe to the monthly newsletter to stay updated on all things SCIE and WLGBT.
Written by Palmer Beldy ’22. Palmer Beldy is a senior at SMU studying Creative Advertising and Public Relations and Strategic Communication. She is originally from Lexington, Kentucky, but she calls Cockrell-McIntosh home when she is on campus.