Peer Mentor Program

Division of Student Life

About the Peer Mentor Program

mentors welcome new mentees 2017.jpgWhat is the Peer Mentor Program?

The Multicultural Resource Center's Peer Mentor Program (PMP) is designed to support new students' transition into Reed College. Each participant is matched with a current Reedie who will be their peer mentor for the year. Mentors are students from a cross-section of the campus, who have devised strategies to navigate the social and academic atmosphere of Reed, and are willing to share their insights. By pairing incoming students with current Reedies, PMP provides additional support for new Reedies entry into college life. Participants benefit from meaningful and supportive peer relationships, enhanced knowledge of campus resources, opportunities for involvement and leadership, and access to educational, cultural, and social events sponsored by the Multicultural Resource Center.

PMP begins with a pre-orientation experience and continues throughout a student's first year at Reed. The Peer Mentor Program strives to create a supportive environment for students from a diversity of backgrounds to successfully transition to college life, access and use campus resources, engage in conversations about the educational experience at Reed, and build a peer support network.

Who can participate?

The Peer Mentor Program is open to any incoming student who wishes to be paired with a peer mentor who can provide guidance and support throughout their first year at Reed. PMP seeks to support students from historically underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds. Most PMP participants identify as the first in their family to attend college, a student of color, a student with disabilities, a lower income student, a LGBTQIA2S+ student, and/or a student from any background who simply has a desire to engage in conversations about how identity, culture, and lived experiences impact the Reed experience. The Peer Mentor Program strives to create spaces, through programs and interpersonal relationships, for students from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds to develop community, learn from one another, and find support.

How much does PMP cost and what does it include?

PMP is free. There is no registration or participation fee for the Peer Mentor Program, including the pre-orientation experience. After the pre-orientation experience, PMP offers monthly social gatherings, transportation to events happening in Portland, and academic support sessions. All activities and meals associated with the program are free and at no cost to participants.

PMP participants benefit from meaningful and supportive peer relationships, enhanced knowledge of campus resources, opportunities for involvement and leadership, and access to educational, cultural, and social events sponsored by the Multicultural Resource Center.

How do I sign up?

Incoming students who are interested in participating should complete the registration form.

Registration opens May 1, 2020.
Registration deadline is July 15, 2020.

Your registration will automatically place you in the yearlong program, which includes the PMP pre-orientation experience, being matched with a mentor, and other optional social, cultural, and academic activities throughout the year.

What is the PMP Pre-Orientation Experience?

During the PMP Pre-Orientation Experience, PMP participants will explore the city of Portland, get to know other new students, hear stories and advice from mentors about how to thrive at Reed, and learn about campus resources that will support them in their transition to college. The PMP Pre-Orientation Experience is also an opportunity for PMP participants to move into their residence halls early and build community with fellow students prior to the start of general Orientation.

Participating in the Peer Mentor Program does not exclude you from participating in a SEEDS Community Engagement or Outdoor pre-orientation trip, both of which occur after the PMP pre-orientation experience and before general Orientation. Students may choose to participate in both PMP and a SEEDS or Outdoor trip. We highly encourage students to take advantage of both experiences.

For the summer of 2020, The PMP Pre-Orientation Experience is from August 18-21, 2020. The PMP Pre-Orientation Experience officially kicks-off on Tuesday, August 18, at 5:30 p.m. with a dinner on campus for PMP students and their families. After dinner, students will participate in a welcome event. For 2.5 days, PMP will provide activities each day and evening that will help students connect with Reed, Portland, and new and current Reedies. The PMP Pre-Orientation Experience concludes on Friday, August 21 at noon. Students may choose to participate in a SEEDS Community Engagement or Outdoor Trip, scheduled for August 21-23 or stay on-campus until general Orientation begins on Monday, August 24.

More information about the PMP Pre-Orientation Experience can be found on the Orientation website.

Who are the mentors?

Mentors are returning students who have completed an application and interview process, and who demonstrate a commitment to making Reed an inclusive environment for all students. Most often, mentors are former mentees who participated in the program as first year students. Meet a few of our mentors here!

History of the Peer Mentor Program

The peer mentor program has always been student-driven. The program began in the spring of 2001, and it was an effort on the part of Patty Hsue '02 to create a more welcomng and supportive campus climate. As a Chinese American student, Patty struggled during her first years at Reed. She felt that any student's transition to Reed is difficult at times but the challenges are heightened by being from a different cultural background than the majority of students.

"After a semester at Reed, with many ups and downs, I still felt incredibly different from people. Many of the cultural references people would make would zoom right over my head. Reed is an incredibly academically rigorous and challenging school, and with all the time spent studying, it is really easy to feel alone and isolated. I wanted to meet other under-represented students at Reed, people who could share my experiences and understand where I was coming from.”  -- Patty Hsue '02

By her junior year, Patty had become more comfortable at Reed and had established her own networks of support. Patty approached staff in Student Services with a proposal for the peer mentor program. She explained, “Finding my niche, or my place, at Reed empowered me to try and change the social network here. I wanted to create a network of students that would act to quickly connect incoming students with upper-class students who could support them. I also wanted to help incoming racially under-represented and first-generation college students connect with each other.”

The peer mentor program now is a firmly established part of the Reed community. Over 400 students have participated in the program since it's creation. It has expanded to include a Pre-Orientation Experience prior to general new student orientation and is well recognized on campus as a resource for leadership development and student success. Each new mentor who dedicates their time and energy to support incoming students helps to carry on Patty Hsue's incredible legacy.