For the past three years, the Manassas Campus has had a flourishing mentoring initiative. Initially named the Minority Mentoring Program, it was the brainchild and creation of Professor Chalet Jean Baptiste who then solicited the assistance of co-chairs Ramunda Young and Marcie Schreibman. This year, the program was renamed RISE which is an acronym for recognize, ignite, serve and empower and pairs 30 student mentees with 30 community leaders, entrepreneurs, Manassas faculty and industry experts.
On November 4, several RISE program participants spent an afternoon at The EDGE, an outdoor experiential learning program on the campus of George Mason University’s Science and Technology location in Manassas. Throughout the experience, students and mentees participated in team building exercises that taught communication, trust, collaboration and more.
The afternoon culminated with a climb up the Alpine, a 50-foot, multi-sided, freestanding wooden tower that can hold the weight of up to twelve 400-pound participants. Each mentee and mentor were asked to create a personal goal of achievement. Several mentees and even a mentor, traversed all the way to the very top by climbing swinging ropes, moving ladders, logs and more. One climber commented “by making it to the top of the Alpine, I realized I was stronger mentally and physically than some of the challenges that were currently impacting my life. I now feel like I can do anything.”
The afternoon at The EDGE ended with mentees building stronger relationships that will benefit them throughout their academic career at NOVA and beyond. Baptiste expressed that she wanted “more than just another mentoring program for students to participate in, she wanted an experience that would shape how students communicated and celebrated their goals and achievements by engaging in activities that would stretch them in a positive environment.”
Professors and mentors Christopher Hafen and Dahlia Henry-Tett tested their limits and climbed the Alpine.
A big thanks to RISE co-chairs Baptiste, Young and Schreibman who coordinate the year-long programming for RISE mentees and the afternoon at The EDGE.