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Emergency Notification

New Student and Family Engagement - Assessment

large group of people outside wearing facial coverings.

The RISE Peer Mentor Program connects first-time freshmen and first-year transfers (mentees) and continuing undergrad and graduate students (mentors) during the academic year. The goal is to create a sense of belonging among Black students and their allies and make sure these students know they have a village looking out for them. In 2021, the program hosted 13 mentors and 43 student mentees at the start of the year.

How does this program connect with social justice?

Three students wearing facial covering and sitting and one students standing, surrounding a large Jenga game.

RISE seeks to provide a holistic experience founded in the cultural understanding that in the midst of oppression, Black students can RISE to their fullest potential. The diverse and nuanced identities of both the mentors and the mentees offer an intersectional approach to service through mentorship.


The most measurable outcome that could be tested was the development of RISE mentors, who seemed to find sense of belonging and community in the program and were comforted by other mentors when challenges arose. Mentors described their initial interacations with their mentees as distant, but some mentees engaged in conversations and used University resources. It is important to consider that this was the first year that RISE that happened fully online. Returning mentors noted that not being able gather in-person hindered the ability to connect with mentees and created a longer period of forming within the group.

Next Steps

Group of students and staff in an escape room, smiling and holding up signs.

Should COVID-19 policies allow, we will look for ways to meet in person so that more authentic interactions and relationships can form earlier in the academic year. We hope to make the group more cemented to their mentee/mentors and to the Cal State LA campus. We will evaluate both the mentor/ mentee experience and how RISE contributed to students’ success.