My Stand Mentor ignites a social movement among student leaders
Published: Sunday, February 17, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 17:02
The My Stand Mentor program is a growing movement that arms students with necessary tools to combat violence within student organizations as well as in their own lives.
The training for the program helps break down violence that students are exposed to in everyday life and culture, including sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking, harassment and bullying. The training uses that knowledge to break it down into a college setting so student leaders can learn to help other students who may be encountering violence in their organizations.
Adam Hall and Jen Adler are the co-founders of the My Stand Mentor program. They are passionate about the program and the effects it is having on students around campus.
“The idea is to have a student-led movement on campus to reduce violence,” Hall said. “It gives students the opportunity to lead their own organizations.”
Many of the mentors are associated with housing, Greek Life and other student organizations. It is not a requirement for these organizations, but it is recommended. Oftentimes students want to get My Stand training because a fellow student has come to them in distress at some point within their student organizations.
“They are leading their groups as mentors and trying to get them to the right resources if something has happened,” Hall said.
The mentors let students know they can come to them if they need anything without scaring them off, making the program more behind-the-scenes than center-stage.
“It’s easier for a student to go to another student they know within a group rather than a stranger,” Hall said. “It can be intimidating. It’s more reassuring for them to be able to know who they can trust in these kinds of situations.”
The mentors in the program are also using their training to battle interpersonal violence in their own lives, Adler said.
Hannah Braun is a current My Stand Mentor and recalled using her training to deal with a situation as an orientation leader. As an OL, Braun was having a difficult time with a couple of men in her small group and the problem escalated to a point where Braun had to confront the men.
“This happened about a week after my first training as a My Stand Mentor,” Braun said.
“And I don't think I would have been able to stand up for myself in the way that I did had I not gone through the program.”
With 10 to 15 new members at every training session, the program has grown from 20 to 200 mentors on campus within the last two years. Training takes place periodically throughout the year. Students must attend one three-hour training session to become a mentor. After that they attend monthly meetings. Most of the recruitment for new mentors is based on recommendations from students.