TORCH PHOTO/BRE'ANNA GRANT
Nearly 100 students, professors and faculty gathered in the D’Angelo Center for the annual R.I.S.E. Mixer on Thursday, Sept. 28. They had the opportunity to network with other R.I.S.E. mentees, mentors, faculty and administrators in different departments.
The R.I.S.E. Network which stands for “Reach, Inspire, Succeed, Empower” is a scholar’s empowerment network that provides Black and Latino freshman students with skill-based development, support and opportunities to enhance their overall academic career at St. John’s University. The goal of the program is to retain Black and Latino students all four years of undergraduate study at St. John’s.
“It’s important for students to connect with one another and faculty to be able to get to know each other. I believe in the power of mentoring and the opportunities to impact lives through mentoring,” Sharod Tomlinson, Director of Student Development and R.I.S.E. Mentoring, said. “The energy of others is so rich and the wealth of knowledge people have make this program a great opportunity for students focusing on succeeding academically and socially.”
Leonard Breton, Associate Director of Student Development and R.I.S.E. Mentoring, spoke on the fact that R.I.S.E. is not meant to be geared towards only Black and Latino students.
“R.I.S.E. isn’t exclusive -that’s not the purpose of what we do,” Breton said. “If you look at the statistics, Black and Latino students are the most at risk out of all demographics for not completing college. St. John’s is trying to be proactive and target that population to increase retention rates in that demographic.”
R.I.S.E. is open to everyone and is a place for all students, according to Breton. Mentors learn the basics of mentoring and how to be effective leaders not only in the St. John’s community, but also in the real world.
“I signed up for R.I.S.E. because I feel that it will provide me with great opportunities to network with other students,” Jasmine Batacon, a freshman, said. “Also, I want to grow not only as a person and a student, but learn a lot from my mentor.”