Promote 360, the SESP student organization that fosters minority access to higher education, will touch the lives of scores of students through their college mentoring activities this year. “We’re really interested in promoting higher education for minorities,” says vice-president Karen Wilber. “It’s a new exciting focus that we’re passionate about.”
The group hosts campus visits for Chicago-area middle and high school students in an effort to encourage college attendance. These visits can help young students to picture themselves in a college environment, provide resources for learning about college opportunities and motivate students to work hard in school, members say.
Promote 360 will mentor Chicago students during campus visits and tutoring sessions this year. On February 12, Promote 360 will sponsor a campus visit for teenagers from the METROsquash youth organization, who will meet with Northwestern students, have lunch at a residence hall and see performances by student groups. On January 30 Promote 360 was represented in a panel discussion for students from Ace Tech Charter School who visited campus.In addition, each year Promote 360 leads tours for the Kits ‘n’ Cats Days for Evanston Township High School, and the organization tutors Schurz High School students in essay writing.
A pen pal program with fifth graders at Jane Addams School in Palatine is another ongoing activity for Promote 360. Northwestern students exchange letters with the fifth graders all year and then host them for a campus visit in the spring. “The kids really look forward to their letters from Northwestern,” one Promote 360 member says.
Promote 360 serves the SESP community along with the community at large. For example, the Promote 360 advocacy program serves as a representative voice for issues that affect minority students. One event under consideration for spring is a panel discussion of the Supreme Court’s decision on affirmative action. “We could do a good job of getting viewpoints from all the different sides. Affirmative action is so relevant to Northwestern students,” says Wilber.
Promote 360 also seeks to provide a welcoming environment at SESP by sponsoring events, socials, mentorship opportunities and career development. For example, each fall Promote 360 welcomes the entire SESP community to campus with a social event.
This year, Promote 360 would like to provide opportunity for professional development and networking among members. "For this reason, we are hoping to plan a networking event between undergraduates and graduate students in SESP -- to learn firsthand about life and research at graduate school," says president Debbie Jang.
Promote 360 meets at 7 p.m. every Monday in the second floor commons of Annenberg Hall. All students are invited to participate in meetings and events.