First day of their future
More than 500 middle and high school students from across the Twin Cities crowd into the North Star Ballroom on the U’s St. Paul campus on a Monday morning. Nearly all come from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups. For some, it’s their first visit to a college campus.
“This is the first day of your future,” Shakeer Abdullah, assistant vice president for equity and diversity at the U, tells them during his welcome. The students, participants in the CORE (Community Outreach, Retention, and Engagement) program, funded with a gift from 3M, spend the day hearing from college graduates from similar backgrounds and learning how to cultivate skills that will help them in school and beyond.
Launched in 2016, CORE aims to significantly increase the number of multicultural students who graduate from the U by 2025. “One of our goals is for the U to reflect the large demographic change that’s happening in the seven-county metro area,” says CORE director Jonathan Brown.
Students take part in quarterly events on campus, receive instruction during and after school, and are mentored by CORE staff and partners. “We want kids who would not have the opportunity otherwise to engage in some high-level activities and have some life-changing experiences,” Brown says.