In 2012, Hobart and William Smith entered into a partnership with the Posse Foundation, one of the most successful college access and youth leadership development programs in the country. To date, the partnership has created access for 40 students to attend HWS.
In February and in advance of the graduation of the first group of Posse Scholars at HWS, the Colleges and the organization will host the fourth annual HWS PossePlus Retreat, a weekend-long event that brings together faculty, staff and students to engage in small workshops and group dialogues led by HWS Posse Scholars. The theme of this year’s retreat, chosen by the national network of scholars, is “Us vs. Them?: Division, Community and Identity in American Society,” which will examine ways to form solidarity amid political, social and cultural tensions.
“The PossePlus Retreat seeks to engage people outside of Posse in constructive conversations that will lead to lasting social change at HWS and beyond,” says Professor of Geoscience and Posse Mentor Nan Crystal Arens.
At last year’s retreat, which explored the use of language in classrooms and around campus, “we entered the room feeling anxious not knowing what to expect, but I left the most welcomed and accepted I ever have in my time at HWS,” says Meghan Moore ’16.
“My time at the retreat was the most powerful moment I have had in my six years here,” Assistant Professor of Writing and Rhetoric Maggie Werner says of last year’s retreat. “I felt energized and respected and part of something important. The more faculty and students who are exposed to the retreat the better, because we have to be able to carry that space back to campus.”
The partnership between HWS and Posse enables a group of 10 leaders from diverse backgrounds to join the Colleges community each year. HWS Posse Scholars work with an HWS faculty or staff mentor who aid in their transition to college life and support them throughout their time at HWS.
Founded in 1989, Posse began with the idea that sending a group of 10 students to college together to act as a support system for one another could bolster collegiate success and graduation rates. Since then, the organization has sent 4,237 Scholars to top-tier colleges and universities throughout the country. There are more than 40 Posse partner institutions including colleges and universities like Hamilton, Cornell, Franklin & Marshall, Middlebury and Pomona. Nationally, Posse Scholars have won $931 million in scholarships from Posse’s partner institutions and are persisting and graduating at a rate of 90 percent – significantly above the national average.
The Posse Retreat will be held from Feb. 17-19 in Watkins Glen, N.Y. The event is open to all HWS students, faculty and staff. For more information contact Stacey Pierce at firstname.lastname@example.org; 315-781-3900.