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The Inter-Ivy, First-Generation College Student Network


1vyG is an organization that strengthens and empowers the first-generation college student network by convening communities of students and administrators, sharing and building best practices of support, and advocating for change.

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The Inter-Ivy, First-Generation College Student Network


1vyG is an organization that strengthens and empowers the first-generation college student network by convening communities of students and administrators, sharing and building best practices of support, and advocating for change.

1vyG 2016: the inter-Ivy, First-Generation College Students' Conference 

Harvard University

February 19 - 21, 2016

 

Learn more here

Follow along at #1vyG2016 and #MoreThanAMoment


Brown University, Van Wickle Gates

First in the Family

The face of higher education is changing. As a result of initiatives over the past decade, first-generation, or students of color, or low-income high school students have never been more sought after or recruited by leading universities. 

The transition between home and any college is often a substantial shift for any student, but for a first-generation college student grappling with the power, privilege, and responsibility of the Ivy League, it often feels like coexisting in two fundamentally different worlds.

If elite universities are specifically recruiting first-generation college students to their campuses, how are they creating resources that produce equitable access to opportunities?

How can students best support each other, their communities, and change the world for the better? 

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The Challenges


1vyG rallies students around an identity that cannot be seen or touched: there are no ethnic or physiological markers for socioeconomic status. Being amongst the first in your family to enter college occurs across any racial, geographic, and surprisingly, class group.

Even amongst this tremendous diversity, being at a historically elite university often presents remarkably similar struggles and concerns. However, the relative lack of visibility of first-generation college student populations has created a situation where at many college campuses, issues around socioeconomic status, liberal learning, and educational equity are often not interrogated or explored. 

SCROLL DOWN

The Challenges


1vyG rallies students around an identity that cannot be seen or touched: there are no ethnic or physiological markers for socioeconomic status. Being amongst the first in your family to enter college occurs across any racial, geographic, and surprisingly, class group.

Even amongst this tremendous diversity, being at a historically elite university often presents remarkably similar struggles and concerns. However, the relative lack of visibility of first-generation college student populations has created a situation where at many college campuses, issues around socioeconomic status, liberal learning, and educational equity are often not interrogated or explored. 

First-generation college students often come from lower socioeconomic status homes than their peers. That means that their relative "rank" in society, as ascribed by their families' income, educational attainment, and job or career, dramatically changes when they get admitted and attend an Ivy League school.

This mismatch - students as upwardly mobile, but still carrying the effects and pressures of lower status upbringings - are hard to digest. These challenges, which manifest in the classroom, in conversations with roommates, and on the phone with one's parents present significant hurdles that are indicators of first-generation students' lives.

These universities operate in the norms of upper-middle class life. They use words like "networking" and "civility." They privilege elaborated codes, where students openly ask and expect help. They value independence over fraternity. 

A rapid rise in status, inability to communicate these changes back home, and relative lack of first-generation communities on many of these campuses often result in students feeling alone or undeserving of being at their school. Impostor syndrome--a feeling of inadequacy, even when the whole world tells you that you're special or deserving, haunts many first-generation college students and prevents them from taking full advantage of their education.

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The Opportunities


"In facing and overcoming these challenges, these kids have developed skills like grit and resilience that many of their peers will never be able to compete with - never. And when they get out in the world, those are the exact skills they will need to succeed. And they will succeed." - First Lady Michelle Obama

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The Opportunities


"In facing and overcoming these challenges, these kids have developed skills like grit and resilience that many of their peers will never be able to compete with - never. And when they get out in the world, those are the exact skills they will need to succeed. And they will succeed." - First Lady Michelle Obama

Across the US, about 30% of all college students are first-generation college students, and that trend is carrying over to highly-selective, historically powerful schools. 

While these universities confer many opportunities to their students, most universities lack a nuanced understanding of how to best support this growing population. Students need programming and opportunities to explore how their presence at an elite school affects their lives, families, home communities, and the new powerful sphere they now have access to. 

By building an inter-Ivy, first-generation college student network, not only can we connect researchers to practitioners and create institutional change, but we can mobilize a group of students who are uniquely bicultural - who know the needs of some marginalized communities in the US and beyond, and who now have the social capital to make a positive change in the communities that need it the most.

If we all move together, how can we not move this country forward?