Chancellor Malatras Announces EOP Student Ambassador Program to Help More Students from All Backgrounds Succeed in College

20 Current EOP Students Will Be Selected as Ambassadors to Mentor and Create a Student Network of Other EOP Students Across the SUNY System, Advise SUNY Chancellor on Strengthening Program from the Student Perspective, and Help Bring More Students into EOP

The EOP Student Ambassadors will Receive a $5,000 Stipend

August 7, 2021

Albany, NY — State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras today announced a new Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) Student Ambassador program at SUNY that will designate 20 EOP student ambassadors to mentor other students, create a student EOP support network of EOP students across the SUNY System, advise the Chancellor on strengthening the program, and help recruit more students into EOP.

The program was first proposed by Giovanni Harvey, student leader at SUNY Polytechnic Institute and an EOP student, as a way to build on the success of EOP by strengthening peer mentorship and networking for students from historically excluded and underserved backgrounds. It continues the Chancellor’s commitment to bringing student perspectives into the decision-making process at SUNY to ensure students’ needs are being addressed in ways that work for them.

Each SUNY EOP director will be given the opportunity to nominate students for the position. A committee comprised of program stakeholders will then select student ambassadors based on their demonstrated leadership, potential as a peer mentor, and commitment to the program. Ambassadors will need to be EOP students in good academic standing who are enrolled full-time for the Fall 2021 semester.

EOP Student Ambassadors will receive stipends of $5,000 to carry out this important new role, totaling $100K for the year.

“The Educational Opportunity Program at SUNY changes lives—I’ve seen it firsthand, as has anyone who has met or worked with an EOP student. EOP works with higher retention and graduation rates,” said Chancellor Malatras. “This important new initiative deepens our commitment to EOP by giving students from disadvantaged backgrounds critical peer-to-peer mentoring, enhanced networking opportunities with EOP students from across the SUNY system, and bringing their voices to the table so we can develop the support they need to succeed in college and beyond. I’m grateful to SUNY Polytechnic Student Leader Gio Harvey for bringing this great idea forward, and to Deputy Student Advocate and Executive Director of EOP Cheryl Hamilton for bringing it to life.”

Cheryl Hamilton, deputy student advocate and executive director of EOP, said, “We’re thrilled to launch this student-led program to better support our EOP students across the SUNY System. No one knows better what students need than students. Their voices will be critical in helping us grow and expand the EOP program to help more students from disadvantaged backgrounds advance their lives with a college education.”

Giovanni Harvey, SUNY Polytechnic student leader, said, “EOP has played a pivotal role in my college career, and now I’m fortunate to be in a position to help others succeed along with me. We look forward to working with Chancellor Malatras, Deputy Student Advocate and Executive Director of EOP Cheryl Hamilton, and SUNY leadership to develop student-focused solutions that help our fellow EOP students recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and remain focused on academic success.”

Since its inception in 1967, the EOP has provided access, academic support, and supplemental financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college. In its 53-year history, the EOP has served more than 77,000 students and evolved into one of the country’s most successful college access programs.

In the current academic year, SUNY had more than 10,000 EOP students on 50 SUNY campuses. EOP students often outperform their peers, with 74 percent of them graduating with a baccalaureate degree within six years.

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