The AHANA Program (African American, Hispanic American, Asian American and Native American, an acronym used widely at colleges and universities across the nation) is a university retention effort designed to assist first-year students at the critical point of entry to the university to adjust to the demands of college-level course work. The AHANA Program provides support to students throughout their matriculation at the university. This includes facilitating adjustment to university life; fostering broad understanding of university support services; and providing support networks of committed staff, faculty, administrators and peer mentors to guide the students successfully toward graduation from Cleveland State University.
Four peer mentoring programs focused on under-represented groups in higher education reach out to incoming freshmen to assist in their transition to college: Black Male Initiative (Kikundi), Black Women Initiative (Nia), Hispanic Retention Initiative (Juntos Podemos), Native American Retention Initiative (561), and Asian American Initiative (AzN). The programs operate similarly under the umbrella of the AHANA Program.
Examples of the mentoring programs include the Hispanic Retention Initiative (Juntos Podemos), which reaches out to all incoming Hispanic students to introduce them to strategies for success at Cleveland State. A graduate assistant maintains close contact with students to ensure use of peer mentoring, social and academic support services, and the career exploration process. This initiative facilitates interaction among Hispanic students with others of similar cultures to form networks of support. The AHANA staff organizes student participation in the Hispanic Awareness Month to further enhance involvement on campus. The Black Male Initiative (Kikundi) was established by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs in 1991 to address the low rate of retention and graduation of African American males at the university. This initiative strives to increase the retention, achievements, graduation, and leadership skills of African American males. Participants attend workshops, lectures, off-campus retreats, intramural sports, and local and national conferences.