UMI's Frequently Asked Questions

UMI's Frequently Asked Questions

What is UMI, anyway? 

The Urban Male Initiative (UMI) is a program that provides social, personal, academic, and professional support for underrepresented groups at John Jay – especially African American and Latino men. UMI’s goals include increasing retention and graduation rates among these student populations while fostering a meaningful college experience. All of our programs and activities are open to all students, faculty, and staff, without regard to race, gender, national origin, or other characteristics.

Urban Male Initiative graduates in academic regalia

Why should I consider joining UMI? 

As a member of the Urban Male Initiative, you will benefit from the expertise and knowledge of our Peer Advocates. These upperclassmen have a wide range of experience and knowledge, both at John Jay and beyond. Along with program administrators, they can help you choose the best classes, offer insights about college life, and put you in touch with appropriate people and resources to navigate challenges.

As a student member of UMI, you will be paired with a Peer Advocate who will serve as a mentor. Your Peer Advocate will meet with you on campus a minimum of three times per month, guiding you along your path to success. You will also have access to the UMI Learning Lab – a comprehensive computer lab with printers and multimedia equipment available – as well as our UMI Student Lounge and Mentor Resource Room.

The UMI team, including student aides and interns, host events and activities for our students year-round. We also partner regularly with other student groups and organizations, so you’ll have access to a variety of opportunities throughout the John Jay community.

I identify as a woman. Can I still join UMI?

Of course! The Urban Male Initiative welcomes all students, faculty, and staff who would like to be a part of the program.

Urban Male Initiative on the Jay Walk

This sounds great! How do I become part of UMI?

If you’re interested in becoming a mentee in the UMI program, please APPLY HERE.

What do Peer Advocates do? How can I apply to become a Peer Advocate?

Peer Advocates are important members of the UMI team and are responsible for meeting with their assigned mentees multiple times each month in order to gain an understanding of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. They provide support throughout the academic year, with the goal of helping students from underrepresented groups achieve deeper self-knowledge and improved self-esteem in social, academic, and professional settings. Peer Advocates are also required to complete a set of written self-reflections during their employment. As compensation, Peer Advocates receive $1000 for the academic year ($500 paid at the end of each semester).

Want to become a Peer Advocate? APPLY HERE!

Urban Male Initiative in the hallway

I want to learn more! Where can I find UMI?

We welcome visitors! UMI is located on the L-level of the New Building at 524 West 59th Street. We have three spaces:

UMI Learning Lab – located in room L.73.01

UMI Student Lounge – located in room L.74.02

We are also available to answer questions or provide further information via email at, or by phone at 646-557-4557.