By Aron Tanner
BMO Financial Group has donated $1-million to Ryerson University in order to expand its Tri-Mentoring program (TMP), which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year.
On Thursday, leaders of the TMP organized an event to mark the anniversary and celebrate the planned expansion of its services. Among attendees was Ryerson president Sheldon Levy, executive director of student affairs John Austin, and representatives from BMO.
TMP already has plans for the funds they have received. Many of these plans focus on new outreach for equity seeking groups, which include students with disabilities, aboriginal students, and LGBTQ students, among others. However, they are still in the midst of deciding how these new outreach programs will be offered to ensure they are “relevant and meaningful.”
“It is a lot of new opportunities and programming initiatives that enables Tri-Mentoring to grow and expand,” said mentoring officer Rudhra Persad.
The money will also be used to provide photography workshops for students ages 14 to 18 at the Ryerson Image Centre, a mentoring program geared towards business students and youth internships.
This is not the first time BMO has supported the program. “They did not just come in and give money to the initial founding, but have consistently donated,” Persad said.
The organization was among the original groups to fund the founding of the TMP at Ryerson, as well as frequently sponsoring scholarships for diversity and equity.
The Tri-Mentoring Program offers guidance to students of all identities and faculties by matching up first year students with upper year students in the same program. Upper years are able to, “Identify supports that could benefit students, such as the student learning support centre,” Persad said. They are also available to answer more informal questions, such as where to eat or where to find student discounts. By doing this, they aim to help incoming students transition into university life.
Moving forward, Persad says, “We continue to build strong relationships with not just faculty but with student societies as well.” It is through consultations with students that they decide how to support them.
On September 22, 4-6 p.m, the TMP will be holding a mix and mingle in POD 250 for students who are already involved in the program and anyone else who wishes to attend to learn more.