Building the Alumni of Color Network
Tyrene Jones has a passion for helping people find the tools they need to improve their own situations. That’s why the Pawtucket native dedicated much of her senior year to strengthening URI’s Alumni of Color Network.
Working closely with Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Michelle Fontes-Barros and now senior Marquis Jones, Tyrene Jones developed a week-long series of events in April dedicated to helping students connect with alumni.
A speed networking night introduced students to staff from Career Services and alumni from the professional world, a scavenger hunt helped students find campus resources to help them think about post-graduate opportunities, and a panel discussion and dinner with graduate students and alumni provided advice and networking opportunities.
“It was a great feeling to see the events grow from an idea into action,” said Jones, a double major in political science and English with a minor in leadership studies.
Jones’ efforts with the Alumni of Color Network have helped the University develop a mentorship program that will pair students one-on-one with faculty, staff, and alumni in the professions. “The idea of empowering each student with a network of support is a real driving force for me,” Jones said.
This is what Jones did with the student organization Uhuru SaSa, which is dedicated to maintaining cultural, social, and educational enrichment of all people at URI. The group held many events, including a December ball for the African American and Pan-African holiday Kwanzaa.
“Our goal was to cultivate a social knowledge on campus in a variety of ways,” Jones said. “Whether it was an academic or social setting, we wanted to expose everyone to culture and help educate people about the history and meaning of Kwanzaa.”
Jones is now working at College Visions, which provides low-income youths in Rhode Island with the individualized advising and resources they need to enroll in college.
—Shane Donaldson ’99