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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

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LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program Brings LGBTQ+ Staff and Students Together

Adam+Devitt%2C+the+lead+director+the+LGBTQ%2B+Mentorship+Program%2C+in+his+office.+%28Signal+Photo%2FMarc+Briones%29

Adam Devitt, the lead director the LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program, in his office. (Signal Photo/Marc Briones)

Students who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and are looking for a sense of community can join the LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program on campus. 

Dr. Adam Devitt is the program director and clarified some information about the program. 

The LGBTQ+ Mentorship program is an official program at CSU Stanislaus and is one of the campus’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. It is geared towards helping students navigate a variety of issues who fall into the LGBTQ+ community.

These issues include academics, building communities, and helping students feel like they belong and have a group they can relate to on campus.

The LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program pairs a student with a faculty member who can act as a guide and offer support to them.

Some participants in the program hope to form strong, meaningful relationships that last even after graduation, while others seek more professional relationships that can offer practical advice like learning how to navigate the professional world.

Despite these differences, the program seeks to assist all the students and meet their individual needs.

Dr. Devitt says that in the future he hopes to see meet-and-greets for new and returning students as well as faculty and staff, to get together in an informal way.

Devitt hopes to plan a Halloween or Winter-themed holiday event. Such celebrations tend to occur off-campus, in the home of a volunteer mentor, and offer an invaluable opportunity for members to bond and develop their friendship.

Dr. Devitt says the program has events geared towards heightening the visibility of the program and putting on events to showing that they’re an established, growing, and important part of the university. An important part of the program that Dr. Devitt mentioned is that students can still come and feel included in the group, even if they are not fully out.

Members of the program all agree to refrain from posting photos and videos of group events and get-togethers online unless permission is obtained from the people in the photo, in order to protect members’ privacy.

According to Devitt, what matters most is that members respect everyone’s desire to be out in the way they want to be.

Being a part of the program means finding a space where you can feel safe and this simple rule is essential to protecting members’ peace of mind.

Jordyn Fonsworth is a graduated mentee joined the program in her last semester before she graduated.

“Everyone was friendly and so nice!” she said.

“I wanted to make more queer friends,” Fonsworth said, “It’s really hard to find other people who are within the community, it’s easier to go to a space where we can meet people.”

One of the times she had the most fun was when she went hiking with the program. The group planned on taking a hike to Yosemite first, but after Yosemite flooded the group made some last-minute plans for Muir Woods.

The sudden change of plans did not dampen their spirits, and Jordyn remembers the trip fondly.

She is scared of heights, but was glad she went on the hike anyway, because she felt like she bonded with the group. 

“They were very nice and checking up on me and making sure I was ok and even in the car ride we were chitchatting and listening to music and playing card games,” she said, “It was really cool.”

Jordyn’s time in the program may have been short, but she still has a strong bond with her mentor.  When their paths cross on campus, she is happy to have someone to laugh with, lean on, and talk to about her uncertainties in life.

Pam Young teaches in the English department and has been a mentor since the beginning of the program and has loved her time there. The program allows her to meet and assist students outside her department.

One of her favorite parts of the program is watching students who come in lonely and feeling isolated find each other.

Young wants more people to know about the program.

Young describes the program as, “A safe place to learn more about their sexual identity or question it,” and went on to say, “I always emphasize the Q and call it questioning when I tell my classes about this group.” 

She also emphasizes that there is never an age you will truly know who you are and having a safe place to learn about yourself is important.

Young knew she wanted to be a mentor when one of her own children came out.  She said that she wanted the reaction she gave to her child for all kids who have to come out to parents: a reaction of love and comfort for them.

She tries to be a listening ear, and she says many of her mentees like to talk to her about moving forward after a rough patch and mental health.

It’s still not too late to get involved.  The first meet-and-greet happened Sept. 25 however, a second meet-and-greet is coming up on Oct.5, from noon to 2 PM in room 201 in the Vasche Library on campus, and students seeking LGBTQ+ mentorships are encouraged to swing by.

Students can join by going to the LGBTQ+ Mentorship program page on the CSU Stanislaus website and filling out the mentee sign-up sheet.

It will ask for basic information such as your name and major The information you put will only be seen by Dr. Devitt to keep students’ information private.

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LGBTQ+ Mentorship Program Brings LGBTQ+ Staff and Students Together