Latinx @ UVA

Latinx @ UVA

Hispanic/Latinx Peer Mentoring Program

This mentoring program pairs new undergraduate students with returning second, third, and fourth-year mentors in order to create an experience that is both personal and enriching for each mentee. By creating small familias based on common interests, each mentee can benefit from a personalized relationship with their mentors and fellow peers, enriching their overall experience. The program also supports the development of mentors through the use of training, peer support and a network of faculty resources

Mission:

PMP’s mission is to help incoming Hispanic / Latinx students make the transition to University life in academics, co-curricular and socially, by enlisting the help of the people best equipped to help, namely, students of Hispanic/Latinx origin or affinity already succeeding at the University and enjoying life here.


Our Website: Website

Founding year:

1999

Founders:

Pablo Davis, First Assistant Dean of Latino Students

Creation:

The PMP was founded in 1999 as a structure of support for students of Hispanic/Latinx origin during their first year at the University. Research and experience show that students perform better when they feel truly part of a college community – which tends to be a challenge for most first-year students. For Latinx/Hispanic students, the importance of connection to family and, often, to language, can be harnessed to create a “familia” away from home, a network of support fostering a higher quality of life and academic success.  Having a Peer Mentor, along with other forms of support, a student doesn’t have to feel like just 1 person lost among thousands of undergraduates.

Structure:

PMP is run by four student exec called “Familia Heads”  and a program director under Multicultural Student Services. Mentors are selected from an application and interview process. They are then divided evenly between the four familia heads to create 4 different families that have roughly even distribution of years and majors.  Incoming Hispanic/ Latinx first year and transfer students are then matched with a mentor based on mutual interest and are then placed in their mentors’ familia.

Efforts:

  • At the beginning of the fall semester every year, PMP host a series of welcome week events in order to create a space for the incoming students to meet the community and to meet possible mentors.
  • There are PMP wide events once a month which include, Apple Picking, Thanksgiving Potluck, Gingerbread Making, Ice Skating, Hiking, PMP Retreat, and more. These PMP wide events give different familias a chance to interact with each other and for people to create lasting friendships and connections.
  • The organization often co-sponsors with other Hispanic/Latinx organizations to enhance the experiences and connectivity of Hispanic/Latinx students at the University of Virginia. Through the fostering of familial bonds, the organization strives to ensure that Hispanic/Latinx students feel supported and welcome at the University. For example:
  • Along with PMP wide events, Familia Heads host familia events such as Game Night, Painting Night, Movie Night, Study Sessions, and more. These events happen more often than PMP wide events so that students have a chance to meet other students in their familia more often and therefore they can make friendships and connections.

Information collected through an interview with Frank Valdez (C/O 2021)