An organization born at 1:30 in the morning around a kitchen table in an Ole Miss student apartment may one day be the best thing that ever happened to some freshman and transfer students. The idea started with students Cedric Garron and Courtney Pearson, who worked for two years as student orientation leaders.
“We just saw how that individualized attention benefits a student over just one day. We thought, what if you give them that individualized attention over an entire school year?” said Garron.
Their idea has now become the new Rebel 2 Rebel peer mentor group program. The goal is to establish positive and helpful peer mentor relationships between upperclassmen and freshmen, as well as new transfer students, to help ease the transition from high school or junior college.
“Eventually we want thousands and thousands, but during the planning year, which is this year, we’re hoping to have about 50 to 70 mentors and reach out to about 100 to 150 freshman students,” said Garron, “just so we keep it at a kind of smaller range. We can easily see what’s going well and what’s going wrong so we can plan effectively for the next couple of years.”
Pearson, a student leader of the Rebel 2 Rebel program, is a graduate assistant for the admissions office.
“We’re hoping to keep the program free to all students and it be a student service that’s provided for the university. We’ve requested funding from the Associated Student Body and we’re hoping to find other ways to fund it so that it doesn’t become a cost to the students or the mentors.”
Garron, who is also the co-director of the Student Activities Association (SAA), says they will need to pay for food at interest meetings and to bring in guest speakers, but the goal is to keep costs low.
Julie Roher, a sophomore accounting major here at Ole Miss, is going to be a mentor in the Rebel 2 Rebel program.
“I’m looking forward to just meeting new people and helping these freshman transition into the college life, getting them more involved on campus and kind of get them a feel of Oxford, too, because I know how hard that can be for first semester freshmen,” Roher said.
For those interested in joining Rebel 2 Rebel, you can go to the Twitter page @OleMissR2R or send an email email@example.com. This program will allow new students to get more involved on campus and upper classmen get a chance to act as leaders or role models for the mentees.
–Story contributed by Meek School of Journalism and New Media student Caroline Connolly