Student Mentors past and present will gather this weekend as part of the 25th birthday celebrations at JCU Cairns.
Beginning on the Cairns campus with five volunteer ‘buddies’ in 1989, the scheme now involves several hundred mentors in Cairns and Townsville, offering guidance to fellow students.
“When the scheme started a very high percentage of students at JCU in Cairns were the first in their families to have the opportunity to study at University,” Helen Treston, founder of the program said.
“The mentor scheme was designed to help ease the transition into University life, and to help make this a supportive and friendly place to learn.”
Mentors are students in the later years of their courses, who are matched with new students in their field of study. They are not tutors, but offer support, guidance and information on campus resources.
Mentors introduce new students to the campus and are available to offer assistance throughout the academic year.
“It means that on the first day of Orientation Week you meet a fellow student in your course
who has volunteered to help you settle in,” Ms Treston said.
The Cairns scheme had been adopted at JCU’s Townsville campus, and at other universities.
“This was the first mentor scheme we know of in an Australian university, and several other unis credit our program as the inspiration for theirs.”
Ms Treston said 140 former mentors were expected to gather at JCU this Saturday (18 August).
“Mentors generally have great memories of their days at uni,” former JCU student and mentor Lyn Courtney said. “They often sign up to be mentors because they really appreciated the assistance they received themselves in first year, and then they find they learn a lot in the process of guiding other.”
Issued August 14, 2012
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