Smith Renaissance Society Student Success Project

The Smith Renaissance Society Scholars (SRS) at the University of California, Santa Cruz, are current or former foster youth or homeless, wards of the court, or orphans — those students who have experienced neglect and/or abuse and do not have the traditional safety net of family.

One-time funds allowed SRS to hire a total of four part-time SRS student interns from June through September 2017, thus allowing them to co-construct an orientation program specific to the needs of their community.  This opportunity provided the interns professional development, career clarification, and financially stability through the summer. The interns were engaged in skill-building activities that improved programming capacity and and communications. 

The SRS Student Success interns developed an early arrival SRS Orientation for new incoming students, leveraging funds provided by an external grant. The overarching goal of the orientation program was to provide a sense of belonging and a strong foundation and knowledge of the campus resources and support available to help them be successful. The SRS Orientation program also gave new Smith students a positive support network and eased the transition to UC Santa Cruz. The SRS interns fully developed the programming and served as peer mentors to the new incoming SRS students.

With student success funding, SRS was also able to expand advising services to meet the needs of former foster youth and amplify support for their success. The SRS Program Adviser position was expanded to full time with an additional 40% time from May - September 2017. The Adviser was thus able to be more responsive, schedule additional in-person and phone appointments with students and be available for drop-in office hours throughout the week. The Adviser was also better able to assess student’s needs during time sensitive financial and housing emergencies.

Collaborators: Early Move-In Program and Housing, EOP, Faculty Members from Social Sciences and STEM for a student panel, Porter College, Kresge College, Services for Transfer And Re-entry Students (STARS), Campus Partners (EOP, CARE, CAPS, Fin Aid., DRC, etc), Slug Support and Dean of Student’s Office

Lead Contact Name: Elizabeth Moya
Lead Contact Email: emoya@ucsc.edu
Theme: Improving Climate & Promoting Sense of Belonging and Wellbeing