The Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program welcomes middle school students during JUMP Weekend 2018.

Every spring, the Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program, also known as JUMP Nation, holds its most critical event that showcases the purpose of the organization. Through a four-day, all-expenses-paid weekend, middle school students are given the opportunity to come to the Binghamton University campus and learn about student organizations, student life and other resources this school offers. This yearly event is planned out throughout the entire academic year in order to guarantee the success it has had in the past and continues to have. This year, JUMP Weekend will be held from April 11 to 14.

Matthew Vizcaino, current co-fundraiser for JUMP Nation, next year’s vice president for the organization and a junior majoring in sociology, briefly described his sentiment toward this event and provided us with details for the weekend.

“JUMP Nation has created an impact on the lives of many at-risk students and will continue to do so,” Vizcaino said. “This is the reason I have joined and put a lot of my time into this organization. If I can influence even one student to pursue a higher education this weekend, it would have been a successful weekend.”

On Thursday, students will arrive to campus from either the New York metropolitan area or the Binghamton community at 9 p.m. This is when the students, also known as proteges, will be introduced to their mentors and hosts. Both mentors and hosts are current students enrolled at BU who have signed up to be a part of the weekend of events. As many may know, students at BU can volunteer to become either a mentor or a host and have the ability to influence the life of a future college student. The difference between a mentor and a host is that a host must be a student residing in the on-campus communities, while mentors are typically upperclassmen who live off campus. Soon after, the students will enjoy dinner and be exposed to different Greek councils such as the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations and the Multicultural Greek Council. The day is concluded with the proteges returning to their hosts and being introduced to their temporary dorms for the weekend.

Day two starts bright and early. After breakfast is served, proteges, hosts and mentors attend different forums led by multicultural organizations on campus. The organizations that participate include but are not limited to the Bert Mitchell Minority Management Organization, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Thurgood Marshall Pre-Law Society, among others. Proteges have the opportunity to learn and interact professionally with organizations created for students of color at the University. In addition, throughout this day, proteges, their hosts and mentors get the opportunity to further get to know each other on a personal level. During the “Brother to Hermano” and “Sister to Hermana” forum, those attending speak about their personal lives and what they have been through. After a day of getting to know each other and learning, the proteges are taken to Skate Estate, a local center with attractions like roller skating, laser tag and an arcade, which is one of the more fun activities that the proteges look forward to participating in. It is also a perfect time to connect with their mentors and hosts. Saturday is very similar to Friday, and once again everyone involved participates in a busy day full of learning and establishing strong relationships. This year, JUMP Nation is bringing 80 proteges to the University, and Vizcaino said the executive board is working really hard on providing these 80 students with incredible forums and activities.

The purpose of this organization is to increase the attendance of students of low socioeconomic backgrounds in higher education and to decrease dropout rates. JUMP Weekend leaves a strong mark on those who participate in it and especially the proteges who come up for the weekend. In fact, the very president of JUMP Nation, Edirka Alcantara, was a protege once and is now a senior majoring in economics at BU. She is a firsthand account of the success of this organization. Overall, the amount of hard work and determination to execute this weekend is immaculate to say the least. Everyone involved, including the proteges, students, hosts, alumni and especially the executive board, all change for the better after this weekend.