Monday, April 17, 2017

Student Advising for Freshman Excellence (SAFE) is the University’s oldest peer mentoring program. Entering first-year students can apply to participate in SAFE Voyage, a summer pre-orientation program where they explore the campus a week before classes begin.

The upcoming SAFE Passage event is an opportunity to celebrate the completion of these students’ freshman experience. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the SAFE program, and a special SAFE Passage celebration is planned for 6 p.m., Sunday, April 23, in the Barnhardt Student Activity Center. SAFE alumnus Toussaint Romain will be the featured speaker; he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University in 2001.

A Charlotte area public defender, Romain is an active civil rights organizer; he led protests in fall 2016, following the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. In addition, he is an adjunct professor in the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department.

In his April 23 remarks, Romain will talk about how the SAFE Program helped shape him into the scholar and community activist that he has become.  In addition to being a SAFE participant, Romain served as a peer mentor for the program during his time at the University. (This event is open to the campus, RSVP at

Jarrell Anderson, assistant director for Minority Student Services, noted this 30th anniversary celebration will bring current and past participants together to celebrate the rich history of SAFE.

“UNC Charlotte has been ahead of many institutions in offering programming to meet the needs of first-year students. SAFE has proven to be effective in retaining students and helping them progress toward degree completion,” said Anderson. “SAFE participants also have developed a deeper sense of Niner Nation pride and have made lasting relationships that carry beyond graduation. Even with this year’s exponential growth of the program, more than half of the 2016-17 cohort participants are on the Chancellor’s or Dean’s lists.”

Currently, SAFE features 37 student mentors who work with roughly 200 first-year students. During the summer, Anderson and his team will be encouraging prospective students at SOAR sessions to apply to be members of the 2017-18 cohort.