University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Solidarity and Success Mentoring Project

SAS is a partnership between University Women of Color and the Women’s Center aimed at building supportive and sustainable mentoring relationships between women faculty, staff, and students of color at the University of Minnesota.


Mentorship has long been identified as a key element of success for university students and employees of color in majority white public institutions. Not only does it improve retention rates, mentoring also combats feelings of loneliness and isolation that are common for many people of color in higher education. Having a mentor can open pathways to opportunities for professional development, as well as spark friendships that can last a lifetime. Mentoring also boosts individual leadership capacity, creativity, and productivity, allowing us to more fully enjoy and make use of the resources that are available to us at the University of Minnesota. Most importantly, mentoring gives us the information and social tools necessary to become campus leaders. The mission of the Solidarity and Success (SAS) Mentoring Project is to build supportive and sustainable mentoring relationships between women of color at the University of Minnesota.

Guidelines for Mentoring Partnerships

  • The mentoring arrangement will last from January 2012 – January 2013, although mentoring partnerships may continue the arrangement after this time apart from the program.
  • Women will be matched in pairs based upon interests, and are encouraged to meet monthly at a space of their choosing to interact, exchange information, ideas, and stories; and get to know each other, and offer words of encouragement and support.
  • Mentors and mentees should communicate at least once a month. Contact can include, but is not limited to, email correspondence, phone calls, larger group SAS sessions, et cetera. We realize that due to economic constraints, meeting face-to-face may not always be possible, however, it is strongly encouraged.
  • At any time during the duration of the mentoring arrangement, the mentor or mentee may contact the Mentoring Coordinator for assistance. Participation is voluntary for both mentor and mentee.
  • If either party feels there has been a mismatch, the project coordinators will resolve the situation.

Contact Zenzele Isoke at or Anitra Cottledge at if you have questions or if you want to participate.