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Campus mentors and volunteers needed for May Fifth-Grade Tour Day

RELEASED: April 13, 2010

Blugold Beginnings logoEAU CLAIRE — The Blugold Beginnings program is looking for student mentors and faculty and staff volunteers to assist with a two-day program that will bring 1,000 fifth-graders to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire campus next month.

Students from Eau Claire schools will visit campus May 4, and students from Chippewa Falls and Arcadia will be on campus May 5 as part of the Blugold Beginnings Fifth-Grade Tour Day.

Blugold Beginnings is a pre-college access program that pairs UW-Eau Claire student mentors with youth in Eau Claire and surrounding schools. The program aims to inform and inspire underrepresented students about higher education and how it is attainable for them, said Lissa Martinez, Blugold Beginnings program coordinator.

"The May 4-5 Fifth-Grade Tour Day will allow students to visit the UW-Eau Claire campus, helping them to feel comfortable in a university setting," Martinez said. "The tour days will allow young students to explore a variety of places on campus, as well as experience special class demonstrations created just for them. We're asking the campus community to help us make them feel welcome on our campus."

Student mentors will be assigned to lead groups of five to seven fifth-graders. The mentors will visit the students at their schools during the week of April 26. They will then spend the day with their groups during the May visit day. The mentors also will follow up with the students in their elementary schools the week of May 10.

"The mentors will start to build connections with their students during the first classroom visit before the fifth-graders come to campus," Martinez said, noting that more than 200 student mentors are needed. "On the day of the campus visit, the mentors will meet their students at the bus and stay with them until they get back on the bus in the afternoon. They'll then go back to the school to answer questions and spend time with the students. We want the fifth-graders — many of whom have never known anyone who has gone to college — to feel like they have a connection with a college student."

Student mentors can attend one of several daytime and evening training sessions that have been scheduled prior to the tour days, Martinez said, noting that student mentors can earn up to 15 service-learning hours for their mentoring. Training sessions are slated for 7-8:30 p.m. April 13 in Room 108, McPhee Center; 7-8 p.m. April 20 in the Alumni Room, Davies Center; noon-1 p.m. April 21 in the Alumni Room, Davies Center; and 5-6 p.m. April 22 in the Alumni Room, Davies Center.

Organizers also are looking for faculty and staff volunteers to help in a variety of ways during the May 4-5 tour days, Martinez said. The faculty and staff volunteers will be the friendly faces, eyes and ears of the university, placed throughout campus to provide support, she said.

A training session for faculty, staff and community volunteers is slated for 2 p.m. April 20 in the Alumni Room of Davies Center.

For more information about mentor or volunteer opportunities for the May 4-5 Fifth-Grade Tour Day, contact Lissa Martinez at 715-836-3651 or martinlj@uwec.edu.

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JB/JP

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