Designed by students for students!
Established five years ago as a mentoring program for first-year students, 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. Over the last few years, we recognized that much of our work supports both first-year and upper-year students. As a result, we revised our mission and vision to now provide guidance and support for students across all 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 Coordinators-TRINsition Fellows
- Faculty Advising Fellows
- Peer Mentors
We nurture our relationships with students, so when questions or concerns arise, they know who to turn too. We also build and nurture collaborative partnerships across campus, so that we can direct 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:
- Offered concrete plans for programming, space, and governance
- Promised to achieve the four goals, outlined by President Berger-Sweeney
- Engaged existing campus resources
- 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
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:
- Connect students to their peers, creating an immediate sense of belonging
- Strengthen mentoring of students outside the classroom, inspiring them to cultivate knowledge
- Connect students to Hartford, equipping them to take advantage of our city’s offerings
- 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
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.
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.