SOS mentors students

Stand Out Sophomores is a Student Government Association retention initiative created to encourage and support the sophomore class.

It’s a peer-to-peer mentor program designed to help sophomores continue to get involved on campus, get academic support and remind them about important upcoming academic and Student Life dates.

“We meet students where they are, exactly how [they] are. It’s basically a peer mentor program,” said Nicolet Hopper, SOS director and junior communication studies major.

“This program is important because retention is a huge part of university success,” Hopper said. “That’s why we focused on the sophomores who have been taken care of by the FYI office their freshman year.”

Mentors filled out applications and were chosen by an application process. Training for mentors took place at the beginning of November and mentees will be contacted before Thanksgiving break, which is when sophomores usually start to second guess college life and decide to withdraw.

“The greatest need for retention happens between the sophomore and junior year,” Hopper said. “We hope to see an increase in retention between students’ sophomore and junior years and we hope students receive the help they need.”

University President Rodney Bennett has voiced many goals for this university, including the recruitment and retention of students.

SGA President Ann Marie Chilcutt said the initiative really goes along with those goals.

“I have always had a passion for retention of students and helping people, so when I re-structured SGA this year, I wanted to make sure the efforts of retention and helping students was at the forefront of my initiatives,” Chilcutt said.

“I did some research and found that sophomore students are in need of some of these retention efforts based on several different factors, which is how SOS came about, and it happened to fit perfectly with Dr. Bennett’s goal of retaining students,” she added.

Chilcutt said SOS is ready to get started and get the word out.

“SOS is such an exciting program because it has the potential to impact one student or a thousand students,” she said. “Mentors for the programs are excited and willing to help students in whatever ways possible and the response from students has been great as well.”

“We hope that SOS will grow and become stronger throughout the years, and eventually expand the peer mentoring [to] the juniors and seniors as well,” Hopper added.
For more information, email sga.sos@usm.edu, call 601.266.4407 or visit southernmisssga.org.

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