It takes a Gramblinite Nation to grow another generation. This is the slogan for Grambling State University Office of Retention’s Alums as Mentors program.GSU graduates and alumni chapters from are being called upon to mentor students from their areas because some of them do not have anyone to assist them.
“Many of our students are first generation and do not have the helping hands that are so important to the freshman students. Alums as Mentors can do just that,” said Carolyn Collier, director of the Office of Retention.
Collier said the statistics, quoted by our President Frank Pogue and the Vice President of Enrollment Management, Dr. Paul Bryant, are frightening.
“The retention rate which leads to graduation is devastating, not only to Gramblinites but to our people as a whole,” she said.
One advantage of the program is the alumni get students who do not have connections to Grambling or other schools to attend GSU.
The pilot chapter, the Grambling University National Alumni Association Dallas chapter, is working diligently to contact the students from their area to let them know that there is a Gramblinite that can be called on to help with some situations.
Chapter president Cathy Conwright, a December 1981 graduate, said she was excited about the program. She invited Collier to present the program.
“This was another opportunity for us to give back to students, to help them get in there and to see them graduate. We recruit heavily in the Dallas- Fort Worth area. It was right to mentor kids we help bring in” she said.
“It is twofold. It lets students know someone cares enough to check on them and mentor them and let them know that someone will be checking on them, that they have to answer to someone. We are going to keep them straight,” said Conwright.
The alumni will offer assistance wherever possible, alert appropriate officials when necessary, and listen to problems and or situations that may arise and give feedback.
The alumni can make the student aware of the importance of good grades and what they mean to them in the future.
The Office of Retention is hopeful that as the word spreads through Tigerland, other chapters will join this project and work together to save a nation. The North Dallas chapter has been given information. The Birmingham chapter will be the next chapter targeted. Because of its location, it is the hope that Grambling’s Elizabeth Robinson Chapter will take the lead.
“It is imperative that our students become educated productive citizens that will move forward and are able to nurture the next generation,” said Collier. “Retention is everyone’s business.”
“Our alumni are shining examples of what a Gramblinite can become. As Dr. Pogue often says, ‘Grambling can take you anywhere you want to go!'” she said.