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URI 101 mentoring program appeals to current students

By Nancy Lavin
On February 29, 2012


As the deadline to apply to be a URI 101 mentor approaches, the former mentors are is reaching out to students of all backgrounds to help freshmen students acclimate.

URI 101 is a one-credit class required for all freshman, in which a student mentor and faculty member join forces to give students the "inside scoop" on life at the University of Rhode Island and college in general.

"It's not just about going to college just for the classes, it's about growing up, leaving your family for a completely new environment," said sophomore Kate Bassel, who was a URI 101 mentor last semester, and is currently on the team of students working to select this year's new mentors. "It gives students a comfortable place to be, and lets them know they're not alone."

Bassel said she applied to be a mentor without really knowing what she was getting into, but found the experience to be very rewarding, recalling the impact that her URI 101 mentor had on convincing her not to transfer in her own freshman year.

"When I was able to help other students get through that, and help them get involved, it was such a good feeling just for myself," she said.

Bassel, a journalism major, was paired with URI media relations coordinator, Shane Donaldson, in her same field to co-instruct a group of about 20 students on the ins and outs of URI. Bassel said she had a great relationship with Donaldson, and that he is still reaching out to her with job opportunities, even though their time teaching together has ended.

As one of six students, all previous URI 101 mentors, on the "mentor team" for 2012, Bassel said she is working hard to publicize the application and get as many people to apply as possible. Since the group is planning to have 180 classes of URI 101 in the fall, they need at least 180 applicants.  Bassel said ideally a larger pool of applicants would allow for more diversity among the mentors, in terms of major and campus involvement.

"People have busy schedules, so our real challenge is figuring out how we can get all kinds of people to come and sign up," she said. "It's not hard, necessarily, it's very time consuming."

Bassel added that, aside from being well-rounded and interested in helping freshmen succeed, there are no other requirements for applicants.

"We have a huge group of extroverts who are really loud and personable, but we also have lots of introverts that get hired," she said. "We found that when we mix people together, everything works out for the best."

The application deadline is March 21 and applications, as well as a description of what being a mentor involves, can be found online at

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