(From left to right) Nursing Student Union officers Christian Plaza (Treasurer), Vanessa Saravia (President), Megan Green (Vice President), and Brianne Smith (Secretary). (Photo by Joseph Mastando)

by Carrie Victoria

Vanessa Saravia, the 2013-2014 Nursing Student Union (NSU) president, introduces a new program for the Mount Saint Mary College nursing students this fall semester.

Q: What made you decide to start a Big/Little program?

A: I knew there was a need for a program like this one – one that could fill the gap between the upper and lowerclassmen nursing students. Plus, the upperclassmen have stood where the lowerclassmen are now two or three years ago. With the Big/Little program, the upperclassmen can help guide the lowerclassmen on the right path.

Q: And what exactly is the program?

A: The Big & Little Mixer is a program that will benefit both the upper and underclassmen. A senior or junior will be paired with a sophomore or freshman nursing major, and, like I said, both Big and Little will benefit while working together. The Littles will receive advice and mentoring from their Big, while the Bigs get to take on the responsibilities of being leaders.

Q: How do you plan on pairing the Bigs and Littles?

A: All members of NSU have completed a survey, including the officers. The questions asked things like what do they like to do on the weekend and how do they prefer to study. Based on how the members answered the questions, I will match them with their Big or Little this weekend.

Q: How often will Bigs and Littles meet?

A: Well, NSU will host events that Bigs and Littles should attend together, but really, it’s up to the Bigs and Littles to meet independently. The Bigs should be the leaders and set aside time with their Littles to help them study or hangout or do whatever needs to be done.

Q: What is your main goal for the Big & Little Mixer?

A: By the end of the year, I want for everyone to have a sense of friendship, leadership, and networking, since networking and reaching out to others is so important in the nursing field.

Q: What about in the future? What do you hope will happen to this program in the coming years of NSU?

A: I’m making a binder for the NSU club. I’m going to put everything about the Big & Little Mixer and anything to do with NSU in the binder, and hopefully, it’ll be like the jeans in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I’ll pass the binder down to the next NSU president, and then he or she will pass it down to the next, and so on. I really hope that the Big & Little Mixer will continue after this.

NSU’s Big & Little Mixer offers a great opportunity for all nursing students. Underclassmen can receive the knowledge of those who have already been there and done that, and upperclassmen gain a leadership role that will not only be great experience but will look nice on their résumé. For those interested in joining NSU and the Big & Little Mixer, NSU holds their meetings twice a month on Tuesday.