As the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted students to an online learning environment, mentorship and connection has become more important than ever. Now in its 11th year, Windsor Law’s peer mentorship program helps to ease the transition for first-year law students who share similar interests and experiences.
This year, the program has paired up 196 first-year mentees — three-quarters of the first-year class — and 189 upper-year mentors. This record result is a credit to the work of the program’s student co-ordinator Aulona Arbana, a third-year student in the Canadian and American Dual JD program who helped to market the program, recruit mentors and mentees, complete matches, train participants, and co-ordinate necessary paperwork.
“It is an honour serving as the student co-ordinator this year especially,” says Arbana. “Law school is challenging enough without the added stress of navigating first year online. Having been there done that, this year’s mentors truly exemplify the faculty’s ‘pay it forward’ principle with their enthusiasm to support our new friends in first year.”
Assistant dean, student services, Francine Herhely adds: “I am so proud of our upper-year students who answered the call and stand ready to support their 1L colleagues. Never has it been more clear that Windsor Law is inclusive, dynamic, and people-centred.”
Matches were completed prior to academic orientation so that most mentees had their mentors in place before the start of classes. The team has left the application window open and will continue to match any additional first-year students who apply during the term.
As virtual meetings prevail, the team has increased touch points between the matches so that everyone can stay up to date on the matters of concern being raised by mentees.