DSO Peer Mentoring Program

Seven RIT students posed behind a table with disability signage and giveaways

Our Mission

Grounded in the understanding that disability is a valuable form of human diversity, the Disability Peer Mentorship Program fosters community and connections among disabled students at RIT. Through mentoring, participants will develop strong advocacy skills, receive support in navigating college, and learn from the experiences of their peers within the disability community. Our ultimate goal is to contribute to a more inclusive and welcoming campus environment for students with disabilities at RIT and positively impact retention and graduation for disabled college students.

About the Program

Mentors are trained students who have participated in RIT’s Disability Leadership Scholars program and are committed to disability rights and equity. Through regular one-on-one meetings, a DSO Peer Mentor will:

  • Provide you support in navigating the RIT experience (clubs, classes, co-curricular activities, connection with the community)
  • Engage you in empowered, casual conversations about life with a disability in college
  • Help brainstorm how to solve issues and address concerns impacting your college experience
  • Provide informed guidance about navigating the accommodation process, communicating with professors, and building self-advocacy skills
  • Invite you to attend campus events together as an opportunity to build connections and meaningful peer relationships 

Mentees must be registered with DSO to be eligible to participate in mentorship. There is no cost for mentees to participate.

Curriculum Topics

Mentees can expect to cover the topics below with their mentors throughout the academic year. The individual needs of mentees will also be addressed on a regular basis during meetings.

  • Navigating campus
  • DSO and Accommodation Use
  • Self-Advocacy
  • Ableism
  • Disability Justice
  • Disability as Identity
  • Disabled Experience at RIT
  • DSO Assistive Technology
  • Finals Support/Prep
  • Goal Setting
  • Active Listening/Coaching Approaches
  • Self-Care/Wellness
  • Problem-Solving Support
  • Building connections on campus
  • Disability Rights
  • Leadership Development
  • Communication
  • Disability Issues on campus and in the community

Program Goals

  • Provide peer-to-peer support to student members of the disability and/or D/deaf community at RIT
  • Support a successful transition to college life and academics at RIT
  • Increase awareness and pride around RIT’s robust disabled and d/Deaf student community
  • Facilitate meaningful connections between disabled peers
  • Increase awareness of disability and disabled student experiences
  • Contribute to growth in accessibility, inclusion, and equity on campus
  • Empower RIT student leaders who have a unique focus on disability, identity, and culture
  • Increase awareness of access barriers and resources for navigating them at RIT
  • Increase retention, persistence, and sense of belonging for mentors and mentees alike

Apply to Join the DSO Peer Mentoring Program