From the Nominator
Northwestern University's undergraduate population has changed significantly over the last 10 years. A larger portion of our student population identifies as first-generation college student and/or from lower-income (FGLI) backgrounds. Such students often lack the same access to networks and career resources as their peers. The Northwestern Alumni Association reached out to alumni who identified as FGLI students to write words of wisdom or advice to incoming students. Cards with alumni quotes and information about NAA programs offering opportunities to connect students with alumni (i.e. mentorship, externships, community building programs) were given to incoming FGLI students during orientation. Our desired outcome was to foster a sense of belonging and ensure that these students were not alone in their FGLI student experience. This was accomplished by communicating that others with their same identities came before them, had succeeded at Northwestern University, and are invested in their success as well.
From the Judges
We loved this entry because it provides an invaluable connection between first gen students and alumni, and because it provides such an easy model that schools and colleges around the world can replicate on a limited budget. This is a very meaningful way to reach out to first generation alumni and engage them in an effort that genuinely helps incoming students. Please read about their project and think about how you can adapt it for your school.