First Year Experience

Three students wearing WIU shirts walking down the sidewalk looking at a folder

Mentorships and Connections

The Office of Retention Initiatives is proud to offer a number of resources and additional ways to find connections, mentors, and assistance to students. Both the Building Connections Mentorship program and the Leatherneck Success Team offer fantastic ways for students to find additional people on campus who are focused on and committed to their success. 

Building Connections Student Mentorship Program

The Building Connections Mentorship program focuses on assisting students in their transition to Western Illinois University. Students are paired with faculty and staff members who facilitate individual meetings to discuss campus connections, resources, and more. 

Students taking University 100 will automatically be paired with a Building Connections Mentor. Any student may sign up for a Building Connections Mentor by clicking here and completing the request form.

Sign up for Building Connections Mentor button

Leatherneck Success Team

The Leatherneck Success Team (LST) is a peer-to-peer resource and mentoring for students. The team consists of a group of Western Illinois University students who have a passion for mentoring fellow students. LST members are available to meet with their peers to discuss a variety of different topics including, but not limited to:  

  • Time management, organization, and prioritization
  • Developing a study plan
  • Learning new ways to study and take notes
  • Navigating syllabi
  • Talking to professors
  • Discovering campus resources
  • Getting involved
  • Finding a quiet place to study / a study partner
  • Much more


The overall goal of LST is to aid in the academic and success skill development of fellow Leathernecks.


Leatherneck Success Team


Meet the LST Members

Christopher Gibson, Leatherneck Success Team

Christopher Gibson
Major: Accountancy
Class: Junior

Bianca Reyes, Leatherneck Success Team

Bianca Reyes
Major: Political Science
Class: Senior
Fave: My favorite things about WIU is the diversity on campus because it allows people to learn and grow from one another. My second favorite thing is the leadership opportunities that WIU offers; there is an opportunity for everyone and anyone on campus!

Tea Wheat, Leatherneck Success Team

Tea Wheat
Major: Elementary Education
Class: Senior
Involvement: Resident Assistant, Western Courier Writer, National Residence Hall Honorary, Student Education Association, Kappa Delta Pi, Phi Eta Sigma, Centennial Honors College, University Conduct Board, IRHA 2020 Host Institution Conference Board
Fave: My favorite thing about WIU is the welcoming community and amazing people! I also am so thankful for all of the opportunities that WIU has given me!

Student Success Tools and Development

A large part of being successful is knowing where to find important information. The following list overviews some of the common resource and tools students may find helpful.