PALS work to help multicultural freshmen women ajust to campus


    By Brooke McCoy

    The spring workload for Peers Are Leaders in Service includes mailing 215 invitations specifically to incoming multicultural freshmen women to participate in a program sponsored by Women’s Services.

    PALS is run by a small student staff who share common experiences from being multicultural at BYU.

    “It’s a really sensitive issue,” said the student coordinator of PALS, Adrienne Sotuyo, from Ark, majoring in social work. “We don’t have a manual, but we are going to write one this year.”

    PALS accommodate BYU freshmen, which are multicultural women, with an upperclassman mentor.

    A mentor is not a therapist, an ATM, or a chauffeur, Sotuyo said. The mentors assist multicultural freshmen women in their transition to BYU.

    “I really try to stress the responsibility each mentor has for that freshman. In the first couple of days of school, if you are expecting someone to be there and they don’t show up-it hurts when that girl is not contacted,” said Sotuyo.

    Mentors serve on a volunteer basis after filling out the necessary forms.

    Also, BYU freshman must submit the form sent to them from Women Services to participate in the program, which has been adequately successful in the two years since its inception.

    For example, Women Services hosted a focus group in March that validated both negative and positive experiences occurring among multicultural women at BYU apart from the mentoring program.

    Some multicultural women felt they were ambassadors of their culture and noticed more by their professors, according to staff member Wendy Bravo, from Davis, Calif., majoring in human biology.

    For more information please contact Women’s Services at BYU.

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