The first-generation and low-income conference 1vyG announced Thursday its expansion into a new organization, EdMobilizer, which will work toward policy-driven initiatives and continue to organize the annual conference.
The advocacy organization hopes to produce concrete policy reforms that benefit low-income and/or first-generation college students nationwide, according to the EdMobilizer website.
As one of its first actions, EdMobilizer will partner with Stanford University’s First-Generation and/or Low-Income Partnership as well as its Diversity and First-Generation Office to launch 1vyG’s first West Coast conference. The event will be held at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. March 2-4, 2018.
“There is a higher immigrant population in California, so I’m really excited to focus on undocumented and DACA students,” said EdMobilizer Co-Founder Viet Nguyen ’17. “Now more than ever, it is important to see how we can use our coalition to create effective change.”
Brown alums Jessica Brown ’16, Manuel Contreras ’16 and Stanley Stewart ’16 founded the 1vyG conference in 2014 through the Swearer Center’s Social Innovation Fellowship. The event features speaker series and social events for approximately 500 first-generation and low-income students across colleges and universities nationwide.
“The conference is about just getting together and talking about how we feel being first-gen students in higher education and particularly in elite institutions like Brown,” said Joseph Vukel, director of strategic initiatives for EdMobilizer. A particular conversation with another student from Cornell sticks out in his memory. “It wasn’t necessarily the content of the conversation itself, but this solidarity and unity that I felt from it.”
EdMobilizer hopes to bolster its growth with the coalition built by 1vyG. One of its first efforts will be to expand initiatives such as #NoApologies, which pushed the University to drop the application fee for low-income college applicants last semester, Nguyen said. The organization also hopes to create an online database of resources for low-income and first-generation student groups. Nguyen said the website should eventually be able to guide students through starting their own projects like the free textbook lending libraries launched by both Brown and Columbia student groups.
EdMobilizer will also hold another 1vyG conference at Penn in February of 2018.