Published: April 13, 2017

In fall 2017, Hallett Hall will be transformed into a Social Justice Living Environment with the addition of a peer mentorship program and two new Living and Learning Communities (LLCs).

Spectrum LLC, which supports LGBTQIA-identified students and allies, will be joined by the Lucile B. Buchanan and Multicultural Perspectives LLCs. The Buchanan LLC will support black-identified students and their allies, and the Multicultural Perspectives LLC will create a community for students passionate about diversity and engaging in meaningful dialogue. The LLCs are open to any and all students who are interested in social justice.

Together, the communities will strive to build supportive, educational spaces that provide students with an enriched living and learning experience. And while these programs will provide residents with community support, the peer mentorship program will provide individual support to students in Hallett.

Peer Mentor Valerie Gao

Peer Mentor Valerie Gao

Peer Mentor Jaela Zellars

Peer Mentor Jaela Zellars

"I'm looking forward to meeting the incoming students, hearing their stories and learning about their passion for social justice," said Valerie Gao, a junior in the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology program and one of Hallett’s new peer mentors.

"I am hugely passionate about social justice and community disparities in the context of health, and I believe everybody has a unique role in the movement towards social equity."

For many of the student mentors participating in this program, it is much more meaningful than simply making a connection with incoming students and gaining leadership skills. They hope to be a positive force for diversity on campus.

"People who look at CU Boulder from the outside might see a very diverse institution, but as both a woman and a student of color, I know that we have a lot of work to do, and I want to play a part in helping to promote those changes within the residence halls,” said Jaela Zellars, a current sophomore double majoring in biochemistry and integrative physiology as well as double minoring in Spanish and women and gender studies.

"When I heard that Hallett was searching for peer mentors for next year, I just knew I had to apply."

Peer mentors will partner with the Office of the Dean of Students and Residence Life office to support students and work toward the goals of diverse perspectives and meaningful dialogue. Each peer mentor will also work with a Student Affairs department, including the Cultural Unity and Engagement Center, the Gender and Sexuality Center, the Women’s Resource Center, the Volunteer Resource Center and the Center for Student Involvement.

"We are beyond excited for the introduction of this new program and the opportunity to build communities grounded in intercultural dialogue," said Dean of Students Akirah Bradley. "We hope to foster a community of diversity and communication not only in Hallett but all across campus."