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Sense of Belonging and Culturally Sustaining Mentorship: Lessons From a Cultural Center's Frosh Transition Program

Mon, April 12, 9:30 to 11:00am EDT (9:30 to 11:00am EDT), Division J, Division J - Section 2b Paper and Symposium Sessions 2


While there exists anecdotal evidence for the benefits of cultural centers and their programming, empirical studies remain limited. Using a qualitative research design, this study draws on participant observations, journal reflections, and survey data in order to investigate a mentorship program for freshmen at an elite university in the U.S. We found that students who participated in the program developed a greater sense of belonging and cultural match between their home culture and their new university culture than students who did not participate in the program. Implications for this study fill a gap in existing literature on the benefits of culture centers. Additionally, this study offers a working definition of what we have termed, culturally sustaining mentorship (CSM).