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The Peer Advisor Program      

Nationally recognized by the American Association of University Administrators for “exemplary practice in achieving campus diversity,” the Peer Advisor Program helps first-year and entering-transfer Black students transition successfully to University life. It provides personal and caring support, while encouraging academic excellence and extracurricular involvement.

Each entering Black student is assigned an undergraduate Peer Advisor to serve as a resource for the entire academic year, based on similar academic and extracurricular interests. Peer Advisors and their advisees participate in various activities, including the annual Harambee I and II programs that highlight the successful transition of new students.


The GradSTAR Program

The GradSTAR initiative supports academic success and leadership development for undergraduates through three programs:
  • Raising-the-Bar -  Students receive “hands-on” support from OAAA Deans and Peer Advisors at weekly group sessions covering topics such as Time ManagementChoosing a MajorCareer Exploration and Studying Aboard. Tutoring in certain subjects is also available to students at no cost.
  • The OAAA Mentoring Program - Students build positive relationships with University administrators, faculty and staff outside of the classroom in this culturally responsive mentoring program. Mentors and students participate in group and one-on-one activities with a mutual goal to “cultivate the next generation of scholars and leaders.”
  • Pathways: Pre-Professional Advising - OAAA Deans provide small group and individualized advising for many undergraduate majors and programs (e.g. commerce, pre-health, pre-law). Students receive coaching for post-graduate and career transition, which complements advising. OAAA also partners with other University offices to promote opportunities that support students’ academic and skils.


Luther Porter Jackson (LPJ) Black Cultural Center

The Luther Porter Jackson Black Cultural Center sponsors educational and social events to enrich the cultural knowledge and heritage of African-American and African people, often in collaboration with University academic departments and student organizations. Through the Center, many internationally respected scholars and artists present lectures, workshops, poetry readings, dance performances, exhibitions, films and other activities to University audiences. The Center also houses a book collection donated by the family of Virginia educator and civil rights activist Luther P. Jackson, which students can use on site for scholarly research and study.


Project RISE

Project RISE serves University students who may deal with a range of issues related to academic, personal, and social circumstances. Designed to create a system of consistent uplift, motivation, and support, Project RISE also helps Black students who may experience feelings of alienation, depression or anxiety within the University community. Trained peer educators receive technical support from the Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS) and the Student Health Counseling and Psychological Services Center (CAPS). The confidential and intimate nature of services helps students to “resolve issues through support and education.”