State grant to support alcohol education efforts
ANN ARBOR—The University of Michigan has been awarded a grant of $46,000 by the Michigan Department of Community Health and the Office of Drug Control Policy for a Social Mentoring program to assist and support new students who desire to make the transition from high school to college without the use of alcohol.
The program, which is scheduled for the first four weeks of the fall term, will be a collaboration of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, involving a partnership between the offices of New Student Programs and Student Activities and Leadership.
According to Ann Hower, director of the Office of New Student Programs, the Social Mentoring program will help students who want to socialize without alcohol. “It will create opportunities for first-year students to meet others who are making similar choices, immediately creating a social network among those students,” she said.
Students will be assigned to small groups of approximately 10, along with two upper-class student mentors. It will be the role of the mentors to plan and implement social opportunities and provide guidance in navigating the U-M social environment. “The activities will be both large- and small-scale, providing opportunities for students to meet other students in an alcohol free context,” Hower said.
An important aspect of the program is the involvement of current students in mentoring new students, according to Susan Wilson, director of Student Activities and Leadership. “We believe that current students are interested in assisting new students in navigating the U-M social scene, and that they support the belief that socializing does not have to center around drinking. It will be a chance for the current students to demonstrate how to take advantage of all that the U-M and Ann Arbor have to offer,” she said.
The offices of New Student Programs and Student Activities and Leadership will begin actively recruiting peer mentors this month. Peer mentors will receive training on mentoring, program planning and helping facilitate social connections. New students will learn about the program through mailings and at Summer Orientation.