BY THE NUMBERS
PEER MENTORING BY TEXT
By Sandra Baltazar Martínez
In fall 2020, UC Riverside’s office of Undergraduate Education launched Campus Collective, a support network for first-year and transfer students. The text messaging program is designed to connect continuing students with new arrivals, allowing them to create a connection to the campus during the pandemic.
“Campus Collective is providing students the opportunity to connect to peers the way they used to in the hallways,” said Thomas Dickson, assistant vice provost of Undergraduate Education. “It helps students feel connected to a campus they haven’t yet stepped foot on and to feel a sense of connection to other students.”
The platform is operated by Mentor Collective, a Boston-based firm that matches mentors and mentees based on a series of questions regarding career interest, extracurricular activities, life experiences, spoken languages, and more. Algorithms create initial matches, and then company staff manually match students to create more authentic connections. All conversations between mentors and mentees are private, but the company sends out surveys, allowing mentors to submit “insight flags” that alert Undergraduate Education staff if students are struggling. This gives them the chance to direct mentees to campus resources and support.
Mentor Victoria Lu won one of five $600 scholarships awarded by Mentor Collective for her submission detailing how being a mentor has helped her navigate the pandemic. Lu, a third-year biology major, mentors two students and was selected among thousands of mentors throughout Mentor Collective’s more than 75 programs across the United States. Below is a breakdown of the UCR program as of April.
mentees have signed up, including 1,904 freshmen and 614 transfer students. That accounts for 36% of all first-year students and 27% of new transfers.
text messages have been sent, or about 22 per matched pair.
mentors are using the platform,
representing about 10% of continuing students.