navigating inclusive mentorship in higher education

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.

"We made the film because 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

For students with disabilities, higher education opportunities are not always accessible. The college opportunities that do exist are not always perfect. Efforts to improving access and opportunities should stem the experiences and needs of students with disabilities.

With college being both an academic and social endeavor, peer mentorship plays a big role. This is a story told solely by student mentors and mentees on how inclusive higher education can work and the relationships that support success.

"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 use our position to not just say 'inclusion works' or 'we need inclusion', but to go beyond that and 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

A film laurel: Best Documentary Film Nominee, Helsinki Education Film Festival International, 2020
A film laurel: Best Social Justice and Inclusion Film, 2020 disABILITY Film Festival
Official Selection for the Hilltop Film Festival of Diversity and Inclusion 2021 Laurel
A film laurel: Official Selection for the 2020 Syracuse International Film Festival
A film laurel: Official Selection for the 2002 International Social Change Film Festival
A film laurel: Official Selection for the 2020 WIPE Amateur Film Festival