In order for the Pacific University alumni to reach out and give back to the current student body, the Alumni Mentor Program was introduced in the fall of 2014.

The Alumni Mentor Program carefully pairs current students with mentors and are encouraged to foster a professional relationship.

The mentors help students with things such as how to prepare for a career while still in college, networking tips, career path, location, and advancement opportunities.

The most difficult part of the program for Director of Alumni Relations Martha Calus-McLain is the process of matching mentors with students

“Matching the mentors and students, It’s hard. It took a half hour to match six students,” Calus-McLain said.

Last week was the first meeting for the pilot program consisting of about 20 alumni and 12 students. The mentors are required to come to campus and meet with their student at least once a semester. Some pairs focus on career path issues but Calus-McLain has noticed students facing a lot of interpersonal challenges, such as making friends and finding their niche on campus.

“Communication is key in this relationship and can be extremely rewarding in the long run,” said Calus-McLain.

The program benefits both the student body by providing them with assistance and the university as a whole by increasing the retention rate.

“We thought this [program] may be beneficial to, but not limited to, first generation students and perhaps help increase the retention rate,” Calus-McLain explained.

One alumni member is championing the idea that every freshman student have an alumni mentor. With 25,000 alumni that would be quite the task.

Calus-McLain said this program is exciting and really meaningful.

Any student can apply and is encouraged to visit the Office of Alumni Relations, located at the Abbott Alumni Center.

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