In addition to a strong academic emphasis, HEOP believes all students should experience some form of leadership and engagement activity while in college. Research shows that students who have a balance of successful academics and campus engagement/leadership are more likely to persist and graduate. Our students have held elected positions in major student organizations, such as the AALANA Collegiate Association (ACA), the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE), Muslim Student Association (MSA), among many others. We are proud of our students’ leadership and engagement activities and recognize these student leaders. We also provide opportunities within HEOP for leadership and engagement:
HEOP Student Advisory Board:
The HEOP Student Advisory board functions as a bridge between program students and HEOP staff. Nominations for board positions occur each year. Applicants must be in good academic standing and be passionate about HEOP to qualify for this leadership position. The board represents all program students and each year they identify a theme to direct the focus of programming activities, everything from designing the annual HEOP t-shirt to planning events to build HEOP pride and community. Members of the board have opportunities to present to higher administration and alumni, encourage law-makers to support HEOP through lobbying efforts, and set the tone for a strong and cohesive community of students and academic success. The board is advised by the director of HEOP and has its own budget for executing various activities.
LEAP Peer Mentoring Program:
LEAP stand for Leaders Encouraging Achievement & Pride. Upperclassmen are paired with a freshman based on common interests and major. The mentor’s role is to help their mentee successfully transition to RIT academically and socially. Mentors and mentees have at least three contacts during each fall and spring term. Additionally, there are planned social activities for mentors and mentees to interact as a group. This leadership position is designed to welcome new freshmen and reinforce the values of HEOP. The LEAP Peer Mentoring Program is overseen by the Program Coordinator/Counselor.
Annual HEOP Traditions:
- Welcome Back Cook-out: Each fall semester, HEOP sponsors the Welcome Back Cook-out. HEOP students gather to reconnect after the summer and freshmen are introduced to upperclassmen and their mentors. This event kicks off the academic year and is well-attended by students and staff.
- Town Hall Meetings: Each semester, HEOP sponsors a Town Hall Meeting for all program students. Guest presenters, program updates and activities by HEOP staff and the Student Advisory Board make these meetings informative, fun, and great way to stay connected with the program. Food and beverages are provided.
- Recognition Reception: Each spring semester HEOP recognizes and celebrates student achievement. Graduates, Honors and Dean’s List students, mentors, the Student Advisory and tutors are recognized. Additionally there are special awards for outstanding students and those who have persisted through hardship. Attendance to this semi-formal event is required and each year features a new keynote speaker.
- HEOP Chocolate on Ice: Each winter the HEOP Student Advisory Board plans the annual HEOP Chocolate on Ice. Students rent skates and skate on RIT’s Ritter Rink at no cost. Hot chocolate and cookies are served in the adjoining conference room.
Other activities throughout the year are planned by staff and/or the Student Advisory Board. Themed socials, collaborative activities with students from other programs, and other types of events serve to sustain the strong HEOP community.