Montana State University

Expanding Horizons


What is it?

Expanding Horizons is a mentoring program for first-year Native American students, aimed at providing a community of support and camaraderie while enhancing the first year experience. You can help by becoming a mentor to one of our students and help them navigate through the challenges of the college while guiding your mentee into an actively engaged and successful student career!

How does it work?

The program is pretty simple. 

The program targets new Native students who have applied and been accepted to MSU through cooperation with the Office of Admissions, as well as working on recruitment at Native American Student Preview Day, and if necessary, the Native American Student Orientation in the fall.  We want to build a cohort of 25 students that will learn both the layout and the processes at MSU, and the value of networking while also building a wide base of support as they navigate through the university system. In addition to having a faculty and staff mentor, students will also meet regularly with a peer leader, a student who completed the program last year, to touch base and see how students are adjusting.

We are recruiting mentors from across the campus community and hope that by spreading a wide net, the rich variety of departments and people that make up our community will be represented. The focus of the program is to develop the skills needed for students to flourish in their new environment, as well as building the individual student’s sense of propriety at MSU.

Mentor applications will be screened by the selection committee, and selected mentors will attend a one day training to prepare them for the year-long commitment. There will be two dates for this training, still yet to be determined.

What's the commitment?

Expanding Horizons will run from August through May, beginning with an informal mixer the week before classes begin. The program is comprised of a series of workshops, socials and meetings that will happen each month. Interactive workshops will focus on teaching students about resources available to them, and learning to use resources and tools to increase their success at MSU. There is a strong social component in this program which seeks to build a cohort, which include group activities as well as providing access to other events going on in the campus community.

While students will be asked to attend 3 meetings each month - the group workshop, the group social and a meeting with the mentor, we ask mentors to meet one on one with men tees at least once a month, and attend at least two workshops or socials a semester. Below, we've outlined the basics. We are still setting times and dates for workshops and socials. Mentors and mentees will develop a schedule that works for them.

Meet the students
Our first meeting will take place the week before school starts, after move in day. It will be a low key, fun opportunity for you to meet the participants in the program and welcome them to campus. This will be informal and fun, a good way to start off the program and the semester!

Attend a retreat
On Saturday September 21 we will be holding a day long retreat that will be a combination of skill building, leadership activities, goal setting. This is required as part of the program, so make sure that you mark your calendars early. We are still in the process of planning the retreat, but mentors will be asked to attend half day to meet and interact with mentees. Attend the meetings
The program is based on monthly meetings that participants and mentors attend. Each month, participants will attend 3 meetings, as well as touching base with the peer leaders. Mentors are invited to all events, but are asked to attend 2 groups meetings a semester (group or social) in addition to meeting with mentees monthly.

Group Workshops
Once a month, we come together as a group and participate in a resource workshop, connecting you with resources for students so that you can connect with support services and opportunities available across campus to make you a more successful student!

Group Social
We recognize that an important part of your college experience is to get away from the academics and focus on getting out, being part of the community and having fun. This part of the program is a great opportunity to get to know the other members of the Expanding Horizons cohort and take advantage of some of the great opportunities in the Bozeman area.

Mentor Meeting
You and your mentor will establish a meeting schedule that works for the both of you. Times and locations are things that you will decide together. There should be a minimum of 1 mentor meeting per month, but you can meet as often as you both decide works.