On Saturday, March 17, Seton Hall's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) commemorated their third annual Build Up! Student Leadership Conference: Be the Purpose for Change. With more than 100 participants, the conference brought students and alumni together to celebrate their diverse backgrounds and shared experiences as scholars of the program.
According to Teresitia Walters-Rogers, coordinator of the EOP Build Up Program, this unique initiative plays a major role in student’s overall performance and retention at Seton Hall:
"It adds a great way for EOP undergraduate students to develop a sense of purpose and belonging, which is seen throughout the four years and beyond. The Student Leadership Conference is one of many collaborations in which EOP alumni join with the program in an effort to 'Build Up' students."
This year's conference took place in the Chancellor's Suite of the University Center where panels of alumni inspired current students with their stories of success, challenges and expertise in their respective professions. Alumni speakers emphasized the important role the program and its mentors played on their personal and professional development throughout college and after. Graduate and former student advisor of the program Emmanuel Mercedes '02/M.A.E. '05/M.A. '08/Ph.D. '13 was on the first panel of the day and shared why spending time with current students is important to him:
"I believe that our lives are interconnected, and our futures are interdependent. My academic success was made possible because of the many contributions of those that gave back and pushed me forward. I must do the same or the legacy of those that believed in me and my own legacy dies with me. By planting a seed in others' lives, I create a legacy that outlives me – and that's really important."
Current EOP students expressed how impactful it is to hear directly from alumni:
"It was a surreal experience to not only see so many alumni from various years, but to also see individuals who were there when the program was conceived. As a graduating senior who has been part of this program for four years, I look forward to being invited back to this conference as an alumnus," explained student, Stefano Lopez '18.
Since 1968, the Educational Opportunity Program at Seton Hall University has provided financial and academic support to aid eligible New Jersey students with their collegiate and professional success.
Get to 10!
Seton Hall alumni are being challenged to help the University reach a 10% undergraduate giving rate by June 30. Support the impactful work of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) while also helping Seton Hall Get to 10, by making a gift today at www.shu.edu/EOPAlumni.