Big Changes to the Big/Little Program this year

by LAURYN FRONEBERGER

Junior Psychology Major Alex Grillo has transformed the “Campus Mentoring Bigs” Program into an organization grounded on leadership, academic excellence and developing awareness of campus resources. 

The “Campus Mentoring Bigs” program incorporates the use of mentors with a Sophomore standing or higher to help guide incoming freshmen students on a path to success.

Grillo and his CMB committee chairs say that this year’s changes will possibly include:

  • transfer students as mentees
  • study hall sessions with Bigs and Littles every Sunday
  • a number of community building activities to encourage group development.
Alex Grillo, head of Campus Mentoring Bigs Program Executive Committee
Alex Grillo, head of Campus Mentoring Bigs Program Executive Committee

The CMB Program has also helped several freshmen students adjust to life on campus both socially and academically. Sophomore Elementary Education major Monique Hawkes says that the CMB program provided a person to guide her on a better academic path and help find her niche on campus.

“I decided that I wanted to become a little when I came to college and realized that there were a lot of things I didn’t know. Although I had people here that I already knew, I figured it would’ve been great just to have somebody there who had the same major as me and went through it all.”

Hawkes recalls her occasional meetings with her “Big” Aziz Sani and some of the fun activities they did together as a duo. Sani also spoke about his interactions with Hawkes and how they shaped him into a better man.

“I had a great time being a big with Monique as my little. It was definitely eye-opening because I learned a lot from her and about myself. My favorite time was when we got manicures and pedicures. She posted a picture just recently of me sleeping (during the pedicure) *laughs* but overall it was a great time.”

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Through the Black Student Union, the Big/Little Program has also influenced upperclassmen to give back to the freshmen class in hopes that they will gain the knowledge and positive experiences their mentor once had.

Junior Mechanical Engineering major and CMB Committee co-chair Mark Jones expressed his interest with being on the Big/Little committee.

“The reason why I want to become a big is because when I was in high school I had two teammates that basically took me under their wing and in my transition to college they passed away so even though I don’t have them now I still carry them with me and I want to teach the values that they gave to me, to younger students.”

Similarly, Senior Communications major Samira Jackson was interested in mentoring because she understands the importance of guiding those that need the most help.

“I was interested in the Big/Little Program, because I think it’s really important for upperclassmen to be able to pass down the knowledge that they have garnered over the years at Maryland to the younger, incoming freshmen class. It’s really important to guide and help someone in any way they need because we all were once freshmen and we know how hard it can be.”

Three CMB mentors: Broadcast Journalism Major and Human Development Minor Shannon Clash, Mechanical Engineering Major Mark Jones and Communications Major Samira Jackson
Three CMB mentors: Broadcast Journalism Major and Human Development Minor Shannon Clash, Mechanical Engineering Major Mark Jones and Communications Major Samira Jackson

For more information on how to become a member of the “Campus Mentoring Bigs” program contact CMBterp@gmail.com or apply here:

2014 CMB Application