UI officials discuss volunteer opportunities within Critical M.A.S.S.

BY DI STAFF | JULY 12, 2012 6:30 AM

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Heather Ockenfels of the University of Iowa Office of the Dean of Students looked for staff volunteers to participate in the Critical M.A.S.S. program during a Staff Council meeting Wednesday.

The program offers critical mentoring and student support for students who have committed a violation of the Code of Student Life.

"The mentees and the mentors are matched very personally together," Ockenfels said. "They both fill out interest information."

The program, now in its third year, is expanding after experiencing success in the last year with a 2 percent drop in the number of students who were found in violation of the Code of Student Life a second time after being involved in the program.

As mentors, staff members do not tell their mentees not to repeat the actions that got them in trouble; instead, the two maintain an open conversation about possible consequences to the mentees' futures if they make the same mistakes.

Ockenfels said the program helps the mentees understand they are not just a number in a class, and they have someone to turn to with their issues and questions.

Volunteers are required to have one year of service at the UI before they can be trained to be mentors.

Last year, there were 164 mentees and 197 mentors involved in the program.

Ockenfels said she is anticipating large numbers of mentees in the fall because of the four home football games in a row scheduled.

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