The latest Women’s Studies (WMST) initiative is a woman-to-woman mentorship program called Fementors (Feminist Mentors) started by WMST Student Intern, first-year Becca Sam.
This mentorship program pairs female first-years with female upperclassmen with the hope of both giving first-years a trusted resource on campus and bridging the class divide.
Sam, who is intending to study Sociology and Women’s Studies, explains that starting an initiative is part of her job as the WMST Student Intern, but she is passionate about this project as she felt that something was lacking in the first-year orientation and Link program. Sam did not like how impersonal the orientation process felt, so she explains that Fementors is designed to foster long-lasting relationships with female leaders.
“Fementors is one hundred percent real and totally intimate,” Sam said.
Sam had a mentor in high school and noted that while her mentor was an adult and they focused on topics relating to college preparedness, she feels the program was an integral part of her experience and she is eager to replicate that same supportive environment at Colgate.
The Program Coordinator at the Center for Women’s Studies Odette Marie Rodriguez echoes Sam’s sentiments regarding the formation of a strong community.
“I hope that Fementors is able to facilitate intentional and meaningful connections between students that allow them to not only strengthen their own personal relationships and improve their experiences as Colgate students but to help build a campus culture centered around the tenets of care and community, something I believe we are in need of if we hope to work towards Colgate's (hopefully) intersectional feminist future,” Rodriguez said.
While the program will officially begin in the spring, Sam has been designing a curriculum to guide conversations between mentors and mentees. On the curriculum are topics like hook-up culture, being a woman in a predominantly male major, resources for sexual assault, and self-love. According to the WMST Weekly Outreach email, the aim of the Fementors program is to develop a sense of shared empathy, mutual respect and trust between the upperclassmen mentors and their first-year counterparts.
Sophomore Ramy Berenblum will be a mentor in Fementors and explains she is passionate about female empowerment, also active in PERIOD, a menstrual advocacy group on campus.
“I’m glad we will have an avenue to discuss topics of female sexuality and related societal stereotypes openly so that people know it’s not taboo. This is as much a program for me as it is for the first-years, so I’m excited to meet my mentee,” Berenblum said.
Junior Harleen Kaur will also be a mentor and said she’s enthusiastic about creating a greater bond between women of color on campus to introduce resources such as The Center for Africana, Latin, Asian and Native American Studies (ALANA) and WMST.
“I am really excited to be a part of an intersectional organization focused on strengthening the bond between women of color on this campus,” Kaur said.
While the mentors went through an informal interview process to gauge personality and campus involvement, the process to become a mentee is more formal. Sam encourages any women who would like to be either mentors or mentees to apply.
“We’re still accepting applications, and everyone is welcome. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org,” Sam said.