Big Partner Little Partner

Big Partner/Little Partner (BPLP) is a mentorship program that pairs Gustavus students with youth from St. Peter and the surrounding communities to foster friendship and personal growth. The program started in 1963 and is still going strong! Big Partner/Little Partner pairs meet 2-4 times per month for an hour. These meeting times are determined by the schedule of the Big Partner (Gustie) and the Little Partner (youth). Monthly events organized by the program coordinators bring together the whole group for fun activities and social-emotional skill building.

Big Partner Little PartnerMission

To build stronger ties between the St. Peter Community and Gustavus Adolphus College by having the leaders of today mentor the leaders of tomorrow through a one-on-one relationship.


  • Little Partners need to be dropped off at Gustavus and picked up after one hour with their Big Partner. Most Bigs and Littles meet at the 3 Flags.
  • Bigs and Littles do not need to meet for over an hour - this is a good amount of time for the partners to have fun and catch up without becoming overwhelming.
  • During the weeks when a large group event is planned (Trick or Treating, Holiday party, etc) Partners are not excpected to meet additionally in that week.
  • Bigs and Littles are matched in a one-on-one basis meaning that there should not be additional family members or friends coming along. This is for one Gustie, one youth.

Important Dates for 2023-2024

  • Fall 2023:
    • October 4 - Matching event at the Arboretum
    • October 26 - Trick or Treating Large Group Event - drop off at 3 Flags
    • November 14 - Fall Festival
    • Week of Thanksgiving - no meeting
    • December 7 - Holiday Party
    • Week of December 11 - Gusties start finals this week so no meetings until next semester
  • January 2024:
    • Most Gusties will not be on campus for J-term (they will be traveling, doing internships, working at home, etc. for the month). So Bigs will maybe zoom, call, send a letter at some time during Janaury. The program will resume in February when the spring semester starts.
  • Spring 2024:
    • February 5 - Spring semester starts for Gusties
    • March 23-31 - Gusties on spring break
    • May 16 - Last day partners can meet

Important Contacts

Emma, Parent Coordinator -

Allison, Lead Coordinator -

Amy Pehrson, Director of the Community Engagement Center - or 507-933-6011.

Applying for the program?

Thinking about becoming a Big Partner? Check out this video on all the reasons why you should do it!

Find Us on Social Media

Coordinators 2023-2024


Gustavus Email Address

Allison Held Lead Coordinator
Emma Shumaker Parent Coordinator (fall) 
Maria Trochez Student Coordinator
Megan Lipke Activites Coordinator
Jack VandeBerg Activites Coordinator
Kat Cardenas ELL Coordinator
Claire Lind Arts & Crafts
Lexi Anderson Arts & Crafts
Amanda Hukee Events Coordinator
Kaylene Kerber Events Coordinator
Maddi Burton Social Media