What everyone’s saying

Photos by Niahlah Hope’15 (Office of Public Affairs)
Amherst College held a First Generation College Students Summit on March 1st, 2014 in Amherst College’s Converse Hall.


Class Action held a day-long First Generation College Student Summit in Amherst that attracted 120 people representing 23 different schools and 4 organizations. At the end of the summit, everyone was asked to complete an overall summit evaluation. The evaluation contained six close-ended questions and four open-ended questions. Of the four open-ended questions asked, we are sharing some of the highlights from the summit.

“Which sessions or aspects did you find most interesting or useful?”

  • An overwhelming number of people defined Kevin Jennings’ opening address as “inspirational,” “relatable” and “motivating.” Some attendee’s said:

“…When Kevin Jennings spoke it was life changing.”

“The keynote speaker was fantastic, hilarious and poignant.” 

“I loved the keynote speaker, he was fabulous.” 

  • Workshop break out sessions that focused on action steps were helpful and empowering. It caused people to return to their campus to work on creating a First Gen program. Other action step workshops jogged peoples’ ideas about how to adequately support  First Gen students. Many also enjoyed the break out sessions for numerous reasons; student voices were present and powerful, some sessions focused on structural reform, information about other First Gen groups and resources were shared, and some workshops focused on building community. 

“The discussions made me want to implement new programs.”

“Student focus was superb [and] privileging student voices.”

“The breakout sessions were always engaging and insightful.”

  • For many, an opportunity to speak with others about what is or is not happening on campus was important. This is also associated with community building and the interest of getting to know peers and colleagues. I found useful…

“The solidarity of experiences.”

“Interacting with various administrators [from] various schools.” 

  • It was helpful for students and administrators to have time to caucus with their campus to debrief and synthesize all of the information they received throughout the day and to come up with next steps. It was great that…

“We were given the space and time to caucus with our campus.”