What is the Queer Peer Mentoring Program?
The LGBT* Center's Queer Peer Mentoring Program pairs incoming first-year students who identify as LGBTQ+ with returning students (sophomores or above) who are knowledgeable about the LGBTQ+ community at UNI either through personal experience or demonstrated experience as an ally connected with the LGBTQ+ community. The program is designed to take place during the first half of a new semester to aid in the transition to college, but supportive mentoring relationships may last longer. Individuals seeking support outside of the program may also connect with the LGBT* Center for support in finding a mentor
Why is Mentoring Needed?
Adjusting to college can be a difficult experience for everyone, but for the LGBTQ+ community it can be especially difficult to navigate a new social or cultural dynamic. Mentoring helps people develop a positive LGBTQ+ identity by providing a supportive relationship, accurate information, and a safe person to talk with about concerns related to adjusting to college and campus life at UNI, coming out, or connecting with the LGBTQ+ community.
What Happens in a Mentoring Relationship?
Mentors provide their Mentees with a supportive peer-to-peer relationship focused on helping the Mentee transition to life at UNI. Each relationship is unique to the needs of the Mentee and the interests and personalities of each participant. In general, Mentors will set up regular, informal meetings such as getting coffee, taking walks, or attending events on campus with their Mentees to provide social support. Mentees also help connect their Mentee with resources and opportunities on campus such as the LGBT* Center, the Academic Learning Center, UNI Proud, or other LGBTQ+ related events.
What is the Time Commitment?
We ask our Mentors to participate in a training on a variety of topics prior to their first meeting with their Mentee. The training is dependent upon Mentor schedules. Mentors should expect to spend about 1-2 hours per week with their Mentee and also attend a Mentor group meeting every other week for the first half of the Fall semester.
Mentees should plan to spend a minimum of an hour each week with their Mentor, but are also encouraged to participate in additional events with other Mentees throughout the first half of the Fall semester. There are also opportunities for Mentees to continue receiving support from a Mentor or LGBT* Center staff after the first half of the semester.
How Do I Get Involved as a Mentor?
Students who are interested in being a mentor should fill out an application. Prospective mentors will need to participate in an in-person or phone interview.
How Do I Request a Mentor?
Students who are interested in receiving a mentor should fill out a request form. After submitting your request, LGBT* Center staff will match you with a mentor and give you further direction for the first half of the semester.