The Posse Foundation, Inc., colloquially known as Posse, is a nationwide organization that provides leadership scholarships and pre-collegiate training for small groups– ”posses”– of high school seniors that have demonstrated extraordinary merit and helps them create a community of trust and support to guide them through their time at college. In the 27 years Posse has been active, it has provided opportunity and leadership training to 6,983 students of diverse backgrounds and interests all across the country, and plans to continue helping thousands more in the years to come.
“From the very beginning we go through a series of bonding activities and in time we build our own little community,” said Ana Acevedo, a sophomore Posse Scholar at Northwestern University. “We’ve shared some of our biggest concerns and our most personal issues with each other, and we know that if there ever is a major problem we can count on each other to be there and listen.”
Some people find their closest friends through the Posse program because between weekly meeting freshman and sophomore years and spend tons of time together going to movies and playing intramural sports.
Posse also focuses on the exploration of the self and one’s potential. Students are encouraged to follow their passions by getting involved at their schools and pursuing leadership positions. Faculty mentors are provided to the students their freshman year and follow them and provide guidance throughout their college experience. Students also have the chance to talk to faculty and staff in departments like the Undergraduate Research Office and the Financial Aid Office to provide support and information about university resources.
This April 8–10, Posse is holding its annual Posse Plus Retreat, a three day getaway in Wisconsin that allows students outside of the program to join the Posse community. This year’s theme is “Sticks + Stones: Language and Speech in a Diverse Society,” and attendees are encouraged to reflect on their Northwestern experience and discuss sensitive topics like race, meritocracy, power, and class in a safe space. Students, faculty, and staff have been invited to attend the retreat by members of Posse or through the Division of Student Affairs.
Those unable to attend the retreat are welcomed to participate by following the conversation on Twitter and commenting with #NUPPR16.
“These are the people I trust more than I trust some of my closest friends here,” Ana said. “I am so thankful for Posse and how it has shaped my Northwestern experience. I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.”