Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program (JUMP Nation) hosted its annual fall semester event, inviting students from Broome County high schools to Binghamton University to get a feel for college life.
Students from eighth to twelfth grades were asked to join a group of BU students for the six-hour event this past Saturday.
“We’ve been doing this for about five years. We have around 34 students here. I’m very excited about the turnout,” said Girelis Guzman, president of JUMP Nation and a senior majoring in studio art.
JUMP Nation’s overall mission is to reach out to high schools and offer students encouragement and support in the form of a mentor-mentee relationship.
“Basically, we try to encourage them to pursue higher education,” Guzman said. “Because where they’re from, they don’t have positive influences, or they’re just not doing well socially or academically.”
The day’s nine workshops included a forum with P.U.L.S.E. (Powerful United Ladies Striving to Elevate) and the Men of Color Scholastic Society, a Haitian Student Association (HaSA) leadership forum and Black Dance Repertoire and X-Fact’r Step Team competition.
For the HaSA leadership forum, students were divided into groups. Within their groups, they created an organization, practicing delegation by assigning E-Board positions to the students in their group.
During the BDR and X-Fact’r section, the students were divided into two groups. One group learned a step routine with X-Factr, and the other group learned a dance routine with the BDR. After they learned their routine, they switched groups.
“The dance was my favorite. We learned how to step dance. I was killing it out there,” said Serena Woody, a tenth grader from Binghamton High School.
Even at the lectures about tolerance and leadership, students enjoyed their time at the event.
“I had a lot of fun today. I learned a lot, and now I’m really excited for college,” said Emily Zeboris, a tenth grader from Binghamton High School.
Holban Velasquez, historian of JUMP Nation and a sophomore majoring in economics, said he was delighted to be reaching out to the local students.
“This is a good way to give back to the community and expose students to a college campus,” Velasquez said.
JUMP Nation members tried to create a laid-back, easygoing experience for these students.
“I’m from the Bronx, and I have experienced how terrible the education is. As far as education, it wasn’t fulfilling for me. When I came to college is when I realized how undereducated I was,” Guzman said. “In inner cities, they don’t take education seriously. Teachers don’t care about their jobs, they just pass students to pass them. I wanted to be the positive influence for someone else. I have older sisters for mentors, but I want to be that person for someone who doesn’t have it.”
Other E-Board members shared similar sentiments about the program.
“It means a lot to me. When you first come to college, you’re in a bubble and then you learn how people live and from where they’ve grown up. You realize other people don’t have the same support system growing up. Some of these kids don’t have proper guidance counselors or parents who want to push them further in life. So we want to be their support system and role models,” said Kiana Smith, public relations for JUMP Nation and a junior majoring in English.
This is JUMP Nation’s only mentoring event of the year.
“Every spring semester we have a program where we bring up 90 to 100 inner-city youth and students from the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. And we bring them up for a four-day, all-expenses weekend, and we pair them up with mentors,” Guzman said.
After spending a full day at this conference, the high school students are excited for their futures and what college can do for them.
“I’m excited. There’s a lot of clubs and fun things you can do in college,” Woody said.