What is the MPC Program?
The general aim of the program is to raise awareness of the many barriers that continue to challenge minority students' ability to thrive in a diverse environment. Throughout the year, MPCs aim to address the needs and concerns of communities of color, especially those who did not attend TWTP.
In January of 1973, the Minority Peer Counselor (MPC) Program was created by Black upperclass students. The counselors volunteered their services to provide Black students with ongoing academic support with an emphasis on building a sense of community, tradition and strength. In the mid 70's, the concept of "Third World" evolved, and minority students from Latino, African American, Asian American backgrounds began to build coalitions and work together, which influenced the scope and new direction of the MPC Program.
In the 80's, the MPC program evolved to include students from African, Asian, Latino, Multiracial and Native American descent. In 1995, Arab Americans were added to the constituent list. By using a system of community support, the student-run program has had a significant impact on making incoming students of color feel comfortable in a predominately white institution.
In the 90's, the Minority Peer Counselors offered Racism, Classism, Sexism, Heterosexism and Homophobia workshops. At the beginning of the decade, the MPC Program was no longer student-run and a team leadership style was fostered. Three student coordinators are hired to work with the Director of the Brown Center for Students of Color to run the program.
In 2000, the Minority Peer Counselors altered their focus to plan and implement educational and community building activities and programs, continue to host Unity Days and publicize Brown Center for Students of Color-sponsored events. Working alongside the Residential Counseling Program and the Women Peer Counseling Program, MPCs provide academic and personal peer counseling, plan social gatherings, and serve as part of the larger student support system in the residential unit.
In 2006, amendments were proposed to the existing MPC Program. The Minority Peer Counselor Steering Committee has been working to revitalize the MPC program for the past two years. In recent years, MPC’s have been unable to effectively fulfill their responsibilities as advocates for the community of color at Brown because their time and energy has been tied up in general peer counselor unit duties and administrative tasks. The Steering Committee synthesized survey responses from past and current MPC’s and reviewed the feedback received from the All Class MPC Reunion (four years ago) to develop a plan to refocus the program. The Steering Committee assessed that in the best interest of the beloved community, MPCs should be fulfilling campus wide responsibilities that will have more positive impact upon all classes (not just first years).
Today, MPCs are assigned to many of the first year units. They serve as resources and mentors to all first year students about matters related to the student of color experience. They also work in collaboration with Residential Peer leaders to implement workshops on class, race, sexism and homophobia. MPCs also expose members of the incoming class to valuable campus resources.