UW-Green Bay’s new BIPOC R.I.S.E program provides support to underrepresented students

Hannah Beauchamp-Pope

Green Bay, Wis.—Ask UW-Green Bay student Hannah Beauchamp-Pope about her participation in the University’s new BIPOC R.I.S.E program and the student mentor will speak glowingly about her experience. Beauchamp-Pope is this year’s recipient of the Newman Civic Fellowship and radiates a passion for social activism and the community.

“As a leader and activist, this really just drives me to continue on the path that I am on because now I know more about what I can do to impact others and education and supporting our youth, [which] are values I hold highly,” she explains.

BIPOC R.I.S.E stands for Black, Indigenous and People of Color Reaching Intersectional Strengths Through Engagement. The UW-Green Bay program, co-founded by UW-Green Bay faculty member Christine Smith and former graduate Hanette Kamanda ’21 (Psychology), centers around providing mentors to UW-Green Bay students of color. With a mission to provide academic, emotional, psychosocial, relational, and professional support to these students, participants in the BIPOC program build long- lasting relationships with their community and peer mentors.

“While UW-Green Bay has been successful in recruiting new students of color, we must continue to focus on programs to improve retention and persistence for underrepresented students,” said Smith. “We know that students who feel supported and have a sense of belonging tend to thrive, so that is a major goal of ours—have successful upper-level students of color mentor first year students so they can reach their goals and also instill in them that they belong at UW-Green Bay and in college. And they belong in the professions they choose, which is the second part of BIPOC R.I.S.E.—connecting students of color who have decided on their careers to community mentors in those professions.”

As a mentor for BIPOC R.I.S.E, Beauchamp-Pope has worked to expand the program into Green Bay’s Preble High School. Assigned mentors of the program will mentor members of Preble’s Diversity Leadership student organization with the goal to help upperclassmen become mentors for the underclassmen. This is part of her community project as the Newman Civic Fellow—to implement the program into her high school alma mater and change the experience for students of color at Preble.

“I personally hope that the students at UW-Green Bay and Preble both get a sense of self efficacy in their schools and workplaces,” she said. “I hope that we can provide them with the resources they may not know about to help them navigate throughout their education. I hope they engage in the program, so they build relationships that do help foster a community on campus that keeps them here rather than dropping out or transferring to other institutions. Most of all, I hope that we can provide ourselves as a friend to our mentees, someone they can rely on for help with academia, stress management and personal growth.”

BIPOC R.I.S.E mentors make goals sheets to hold mentees accountable throughout the semester and check in with their mentees once a week to touch base and provide any feedback or support. By increasing a sense of belonging among students of color, UW-Green Bay can increase retention rates for students of color and student success as a whole. With the dedication of student mentors and the BIPOC R.I.S.E board of faculty and staff advisors, the BIPOC program hopes to continue working towards making a difference in the community and the lives of students of color.

To learn more, visit the BIPOC RISE website.enrollment

Story by Marketing and University Communication student assistant Soundarya Ritzman. Photo submitted.


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