Designed by students for students!

Established as a mentoring program for first-year students in 2015, The Bantam Network was designed to connect first-year students to individuals and resources that would deepen their college experience and ease their transition to college life. Recognizing that much of our work supports both first-year and upper-year students, we revised our mission and vision to provide guidance and support for students across all class years.

The Bantam Network helps students build their network of care on campus through a comprehensive Nest System. We do so by placing all new students into a Nest, which connects them to a coordinated network of care, encompassing: 

  • Nest Deans
  • Residential Learning Community Mentors
  • First-Year Seminar Faculty/ Faculty Advisors
  • Peer Mentors (First-Year Seminar Mentors, CAs, RAs, Nest Fellows, and P.R.I.D.E. Leaders)

We nurture our relationships with students, so when questions or concerns arise, they know who to turn too. Through collaborative partnerships across campus, we can refer students to the appropriate resource or service to meet their needs in a timely manner.

How It All Began… 

In the fall of 2014 semester, President Joanne Berger-Sweeney called on students to design a comprehensive mentoring network that would strengthen the interaction of Trinity students with each other, the campus, and the city of Hartford. 5 Mentoring Network Design Challenge Teams stepped up to that challenge, competing to implement their design of a first-experience mentoring program. Supported by presidential cabinet sponsors, the student teams were tasked with developing a design for the mentoring networks that:

  1. Offered concrete plans for programming, space, and governance
  2. Promised to achieve the four goals, outlined by President Berger-Sweeney
  3. Engaged existing campus resources
  4. Had a compelling name to describe it

The winning concept, The Bantam Network was announced on Sunday, March 9th, 2015.

Mentoring Network Design Challenge Teams
Team 1: The Trinity Network
Cabinet Sponsor: Jack Fracasso and Sonia Cardenas
Team Members: Erin Barney ’15, Sarah Bunker ’17, Jordan Cram ’17, Alden Daniel ’17, Sharnjit Dhaliwal ’16, Laura Figueroa ’15, Alice Khabituyeva ’17, Carolyn Kimmick ’15, Sarah Messenger ’18, Colleen Murdock ’17, Sarah Sharbaugh ’17

Team 2: Coops
Cabinet Sponsors: Jason Rojas & Sue Aber
Team Members: Karyn Barrett ’15, Christopher Bulfinch ’18, Kate Dietrich-Manion ’18, Matthew Fellows ’15, Caroline Hayes ’15, Juliana Maisano ’17, Matthew Mazur ’17, Kendall Mitchell ’17

Team 3: The TrinNets
Cabinet Sponsor: Chris Card
Team Members: Karishma Asthana ’18, Maria Dyane ’17, Dana Gionfriddo ’18, Nicholas Nagle ’17, Abigail Painchaud ’18, Jennifer Noel Schackner, IDP, Charlotte Thomas ’17

Team 4: The Bantam Network
Cabinet Sponsor: Karla Spurlock-Evans
Team Members: Hannah Adams ’17, Sarah Beckmann ’18, Mark Ferreira ’17, Colin MacKichan ’15, Monica Mhina ’17, Madison Ochs ’18, Dylan Spagnuolo ’17, Molly Thoms ’17

Team 5: Building a Legacy
Cabinet Sponsor: David Andres & Rich Prigodich
Team Members: Maggie Crowe ’15, Justin Fortier ’18, Maura Griffith ’17, Sara Khalil ’15, Dana Leavitt ’18, Chris Mulhern ’17, Molly Schineller ’18, Evan Scollard ’17, Haley Thompson ’17

The Bantam Network Comes To Life

In the fall 2015 semester, we launched The Bantam Network, a first-year mentoring program, designed to connect first-year students to individuals and resources that would deepen their college experience and ease their transition to college life. Beginning with the Class of 2019, the inaugural plan for the Bantam Network called for all incoming first-year students to be assigned to one of five mentoring Nests. The Nests were designed to:

  1. Connect students to their peers, creating an immediate sense of belonging
  2. Strengthen mentoring of students outside the classroom, inspiring them to cultivate knowledge
  3. Connect students to Hartford, equipping them to take advantage of our city’s offerings
  4. Prepare students for life by developing engaged, civically minded persons

Each Nest would comprise approximately 120 first-year students who lived in the first-year residential buildings: Jones, Elton, Jackson, Wheaton, Smith, North, and Funston. Special focus was placed on identifying a central space on campus for the mentoring networks will allow students to prepare meals, eat together, and talk in comfortable lounge spaces.

Supporting each Nest would be a team composed of Deans, Faculty Mentors, a TRINsition Fellow (a recent liberal arts college graduate), upper-year student Peer Mentors, Career Development Mentors, and Wellness Mentors.

The Bantam Network Today

During the summer of 2018, The Bantam Network underwent a program evaluation. The findings of this evaluation have led to some strategic changes within the Network.

In the fall 2019 semester, The Bantam Network grew into a larger unit, taking the Office of Residential Life under its umbrella and restructuring that office into The Bantam Network Residential Learning Community. Through this restructure, we work to honor the holistic nature of the student. Meaning we work to support our students’ academic, social, personal, and professional development and growth, as they move through their Trinity experience.

We continue to focus on further developing and strengthening the Network as a resource for students across all four years of their Trinity experience.

TRINsition Fellow Alums

First Generation TRINsition Fellows

2015 TRIN Fellows: Alex Conaway ’15, Chanel Erasmus ’15, Meredith Friedman (Bates College, BA; American University, MFA), Taniqua Huguley ’15, and Consuelo Pedro ’15

Contributions: The inaugural group of TRIN Fellows laid the foundation for the Bantam Network. Their efforts have generated some of the staple programs, such as Downtown Fridays and dinner and the theater, solidifying the Bantam Network as part of both the Trinity and Hartford experience.

Second Generation Trinsition Fellows

2017 TRIN Fellows: Maria Dyane ’17, Sheila Njau ’17, Monica Mhina ’17, Tim Hobart (Union College, BA; University of St. Andrews, MA), and  Thalia Giraldo (Colby College, BA)

Contributions: The second generation of TRIN Fellows opened a new chapter of the Bantam Network. Building off the success of the inaugural group, these TRIN Fellows sought to expand the Network across all four years by becoming a resource for all students.

2018 TRIN Fellows: Maria Dyane ’17 M’19, Sheila Njau ’17 M’19, Emily Dowden ’18, Tim Hobart M’19 (Union College, BA; University of St. Andrews, MA), and  Thalia Giraldo M’19 (Colby College, BA)

Contributions: The third generation of TRIN Fellows continued working on expanding the Bantam Network. These TRIN Fellows continued to focus on developing and implementing initiatives that cater to the needs of students across all four years. In addition, these TRIN Fellows were crucial to the planning and restructuring process of the Office of Residential Life into The Bantam Network Residential Learning Community.