Gannon University and GO College Collaborate

Posted: June 20, 2013

There was a time when gum was not permitted in school.  These days, though, GUMs are welcomed. 

They're the Gannon University Mentors (GUMs) who are helping to create opportunities for low-income, first-generation, and minority students at Erie's Strong Vincent High School as part of the Gaining Options for College (GO College) program.

GO College, a collaborative venture of the Erie School District, Gannon University and the GE Foundation, is a national data-driven initiative that brings communities together to increase college access and success through academic enrichment, college exposure and service-learning. Gannon's participation on the GO College program, which is coordinated by the Washington, D.C.-based Council for Opportunity in Education, is facilitated by the

University's Erie-Gannon Alliance to Improve Neighborhood Sustainability (Erie-GAINS) initiative.

Last month, a three-day conference hosted by Keith Taylor, Ph.D., president of Gannon University, brought together federal and community agencies and educators from Erie and Louisville, Ky. to review the process and to begin a conversation to expand the efforts put forth by GO College and other educational initiatives. Among the findings in Erie are:

  • Nearly 100% of students participating in the Erie School District GO College program applied to colleges and universities.  Within the total population at participating schools, that proportion was 46%.
  • Tardiness and unexplained absences among GO College participants were lower than those of the total school population, along with was attendance, and attendance rates
  • Attendance rates among GO College students increased from the participants' sophomore to senior years and were higher than those of the total school population.

In addition to the GUMs at Strong Vincent, Gannon participates in the program by providing more intensive services to specific participating student groups. A range of activities, including college fairs and tours, tutoring, workshops on financial aid and individual counseling are made available to the students enrolled in the program throughout their high school careers.

Kevin Richardson, who will be a senior at Strong Vincent this fall, summed up the contribution of his mentors this way:  "Grades are always a struggle for me, but the GUMs help me every day.  They teach me to fix my problems, stick with my grades and with my school work."

Erie-GAINS is a long-term, mutually beneficial community initiative designed to expand the University's efforts to support the common good of the neighborhoods surrounding the campus.  Points of emphasis for Erie-GAINS programming include education, health and wellness, business and the economy, environmental sustainability and quality of life issues.