AND THEY WERE ROOMMATES:

navigating inclusive mentorship in higher education

"We like working together and wanted to share that. It is about Kylie and I being roommates. It’s about friends, roommates, and mentors, some with disabilities and some without disabilities. It’s about how to help each other on a college campus"

-- Olivia Baist

"This project is not about disability. It’s not about Syracuse University or InclusiveU. It’s not about inclusive education. It’s not about Olivia. It’s not about me. This project is about the relationship between college students in an inclusive higher education setting, learning how to support one another in a mutually beneficial and sustainable way.

With no prior filmmaking education or experience, Olivia and I embraced vulnerability and our commitment to sharing our lives in order to support mentees/mentors down the road. With the words of peers, this is not just my film. This is the film of thirteen students, all dedicated to collaborative mentorships, friendships, and advocating for more real higher education opportunities."

--Kylie Walter

A quote reads "If I receive too much support, sometimes I feel like I am incapable of things that I know I can do", by Laura, an InclusiveU Student. Next to the quote is an image of Olivia and Kylie, sitting outside in front of a building with big windows on a sunny day. Olivia is looking at the camera and making a heart with her hands. Kylie is looking off in thought. The image is a frame from the film. A quote reads, "I think when you give people too much help it kind of pushes them away sometimes. Some students don't want help in every aspect of things", by Rexy, an InclusiveU Mentor. Next to the quote is an image of Olivia sitting on Kylie's shoulders with her arms raised. Both are smiling and wearing Syracuse University gear.A quote by Meghan, and InclusiveU student & mentor reads, "what a mentor means to me is they help you, like help you with your homework and they're your friend". Next to the quote is an image of Kylie and Olivia in their dorm room. Kylie is in the foreground, looking down with a solemn expression. Olivia is in the background, arms raising, smiling, and looking right at the camera. The image is a frame from the film. A quote by Jon, an InclusiveU Mentor reads "If I'm constantly over supporting, it's going to make that growth hard and it's going to make it harder for them to reach those goals because they're not doing it on their own". Next to the quote is an image of Kylie and Olivia outside on a sunny day. Kylie is smiling at the camera and Olivia is looking at Kylie, smiling and holding up a peace sign to the camera.A quote from Matthew, an InclusiveU student, reads "I don't think the word mentor is the right term, it says that they're trying to tell you what to do. I see it more as friends who are trying to be helpful and be there for you when you need them". A silly image of Olivia and Kylie is next to this. Both are wearing glasses and looking at the camera, which is so close to their faces that only their eyes and forehead (and ceiling above them) are pictured.A quote by Andrew, and InclusiveU student and mentor reads "at times I felt like I just wanted to be independent myself. But, I think....I wouldn't be as successful if I didn't have a mentor helping me. Even if sometimes I didn't want one, I might have needed one". Next to this is an image of Kylie and Olivia, sitting in orange chairs with their feet up, in front of a large window overlooking campus.
Film Festival Laurel reading "Best Editing, YouFilmFestival, 2022"Film Festival Laurel reading "Official Selection,  Hilltop Film Festival of Diversity and Inclusion, 2021"Film Festival Laurel reading "Official Selection, International Social Change Film Festival, 2020"
Film Festival Laurel reading "Zukor Award, Honorable Mention, Astoria Film Festival, 2021"Film Festival Laurel reading "Best Social Justice & Inclusion Film, disABILITY Film Festival, 2020"Film Festival Laurel reading "Official Selection, WIPE Amateur Film Festival, 2020"
Film Festival Laurel reading "Official Selection, Assim Vivemos - Brazil's International Disability Film Festival, 2021"Film Festival Laurel reading "Best Documentary Feature, Nominee, Helsinki Education Film Festival International, 2020"Film Festival Laurel reading "Official Selection, Syracuse International Film Festival, 2020"

"We are sharing this work with the recognition that not everyone is in the same position that we were in. We have the privilege of being college students in a place where inclusion is. We want to go beyond 'inclusion works' or 'we need inclusion', to say 'this is the honest reality of how our inclusion works' and 'this is how we can make the inclusive mentorship that already exists work better for everyone'"

-- Kylie Walter