A Chance to Thrive

Filed under:

Amada Sandoval, Ronnie Benion

This fall, students of color at Sarah Lawrence will have a unique opportunity to develop important skills for success on campus and beyond, thanks to the College’s Thrive Mentorship Program for Students of Color.

Formerly a pre-orientation program, Thrive will be relaunched as a free, yearlong program for incoming first-year and transfer students of color looking to connect with upperclass students of color.

In addition to easing the transition to college and cultivating a sense of belonging, Thrive, sponsored by the College’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) office, aims to help participants recognize key campus resources and build valuable relationships with SLC faculty, staff, and alumni of color.

“Students who have applied to be mentors are extremely excited for this,” explained Ronnie Benion, assistant director of diversity, equity & inclusion and one of the directors for Thrive. “Many told me they wish they had this as first-year students.’”

Thrive leaders—sophomore, junior, and senior mentors—will meet regularly with mentees for their entire first year at Sarah Lawrence. In addition, DEI will host monthly personal or professional development workshops for these students on such topics as financial literacy, resumé and cover letter writing, and navigating difficult conversations. Thrive will also help to foster engagement between participants and alumni of color through informal lunch panels and discussions—and by partnering with the Career Services and Alumni Relations offices for other alumni-led events.

“By providing Thrive as an affinity space for students of color,” said Benion, “it gives them a chance to find solidarity, to find community … because there is something to say about a shared experience.”

Amada Sandoval, associate dean for engagement, diversity, inclusion, and equity, added: “We want to create an environment of inclusion for students, but we also want them to learn how to do that for others.”

At its core, Thrive is about creating a network of support through which students learn how to interact effectively with those with different identities—at SLC and in the wider world. It is based on Sarah Lawrence’s Principles of Mutual Respect, a framework that defines the ideals of our diverse community, and it exemplifies the College’s holistic approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“DEI programs like Thrive create places of respite,” said Sandoval, “but they also strengthen you and give you the tools to respond to situations in a way that encourages dialogue and connection.”

About Sarah Lawrence College

Founded in 1926, Sarah Lawrence is a prestigious, coeducational liberal arts college that consistently ranks among the leading liberal arts colleges in the country. Sarah Lawrence is known for its pioneering approach to education, rich history of impassioned intellectual and civic engagement, and vibrant, successful alumni. In close proximity to the unparalleled offerings of New York City, the historic campus is home to an intellectually curious and diverse community.