Sponsor Group Data
Average percentage of first-year students who apply for the 56 sponsor positions available for the following year
Ask any senior on campus what he or she remembers most about his or her first year on campus and you’ll probably hear about something called a sponsor group. Unique to Pomona College, sponsor groups are designed to help students make the transition from home to dorm life. The groups are coed and consist of 10 to 20 first-year students who live in adjacent rooms in the residence halls, along with two sophomore sponsors who help them learn the ropes of campus life—from joining a club and buying books to finding out where to get the best pizza in Claremont or how to get into Los Angeles without driving (it can be done).
Year the Sponsor Program originated
"A sponsor is someone you can rely on," says junior Tiamaht Erickson from Portland, Oregon, one of the three head sponsors who supervise the program. “For some students, we can be a big brother or sister; for others, a friend. It’s different for everyone. I come from a really big family, so the idea of having a kind of built-in family was one of the things that attracted me to Pomona. My sponsor group was my home base. I’d go to class, work out with the track team and come back and know there were people at the dorm I could have a meal with or just hang out with and relax.”
Members of your sponsor group may become some of your closest friends. We know of connections that have lasted long after graduation, with sponsor groups getting together at alumni reunions. That doesn’t happen for everyone, but for most, the first-year program provides a built-in support group—people with whom to talk, to procrastinate, to plan, to let off steam, to share a late-night snack.
“We have a range of interests—pre-med, econ, media studies,” says first-year Dante Benson of Camden, New Jersey. “Some of us play sports, one of us is president of the freshman class. We sometimes eat lunch and dinner together, but we always gather from 11 to 3 in the morning to talk, and usually end up ordering a pizza or some Thai food. I guess you could say we’re the laid-back, late-night group.”
Sponsors undergo intensive training and work closely with the resident advisers, as well as members of other Pomona College support groups including five mentor programs—Asian American Mentor Program (AAMP), Chicano/Latino Student Affairs (CLSA), Ujima (run by the Office of Black Student Affairs), Queer, Questioning and Allied Mentoring Program (QQAMP) and the Jewish Mentor Program (JMP).