Oscar Ritchie Scholars Guild provides scholarships for minority students

Katherine Schaeffer

The Oscar Ritchie Scholars Guild is already up and running, and it will eventually provide members with access to a variety of academic and career-advising services, as well as social activities.

New this year, the group’s goal is to expand programming to provide Oscar Ritchie Scholarship recipients with the resources they need to excel at Kent State.

Last year, Kent State’s Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion developed plans for the guild, a program designed for Oscar Ritchie Scholarship recipients. The Oscar Ritchie Scholarship is awarded to incoming freshmen of African-American, Hispanic or Native American backgrounds based on high school academic performance, extracurricular involvement and leadership.

Trinidy Jeter, Scholars Guild faculty adviser, said the 400 first-year Oscar Ritchie Scholarship recipients were invited to join the guild at the beginning of the fall semester. The guild is part of an effort to recruit and retain AALANA students.

Jeter said the guild offers students access to academic resources such as tutoring and academic advising to help them reach graduation as an Oscar Ritchie Scholar.

“The purpose of the guild is to strongly collaborate with college resources and college departments to retain these students by all means,” Jeter said.

Jeter said the guild hosts general body meetings, known as success sessions, semi-monthly. The sessions, which are new this year and offered to first-year scholarship recipients, focus on providing students with tools they need to be successful.

Scholars Guild president Cassaundra Bronson, sophomore biology major, said the sessions are held as open forums, where students are free to ask any questions they have. Each session covers a different topic relevant to first-year students, including advising, the GPS system, transcript information and scheduling.

“We have things in motion as far as the academic components to retain our students and to make sure that not only do you keep the scholarship, but that you excel here at Kent State,” Bronson said.

Academic events chair David Hendricks said the Guild’s upcoming events include a two-part speaker symposium, featuring scholars whom members can look up to, as well as a series of stress-busting activities during exam week.

The group was scheduled to start collaborating Monday with Male Empowerment Network and Sister Circle to host “De-stress Before the Test” week in the Student Multicultural Center. The event will feature a different activity each day to help students cope with exam stress. The wide range of activities will include massages Monday, game night Tuesday, as well as a movie night Friday.

Jeter said these activities are part of the guild’s goal to merge academic and social aspects of the college experience.

“It gives you the opportunity to have better access and more information about resources you need as a student,” Bronson said. “It also gives you the opportunity to network and have your own support group.”

Contact Katherine Schaeffer at [email protected].