A grant to support programs for first generation and underrepresented students has been awarded to Sarah Lawrence College by the Booth Ferris Foundation of New York. The two-year, $220,000 grant will enable the College to expand an existing five-day pre-orientation program designed to ease the transition to college life for this cohort of students, provide year-round programs and services, develop a family outreach program, and launch efforts to advance social justice leadership and advocacy training for these student leaders.
Driving the program is the College’s goal of ensuring robust diversity within the student body by supporting individual students whose backgrounds or lack of experience with higher education may create obstacles to success and college completion.
“Sarah Lawrence College is very grateful to the Booth Ferris Foundation for this exciting grant, which contributes to the Campaign for Sarah Lawrence while fulfilling one of our most important goals—building a vibrant, diverse, and successful student body,” says Dean of Studies and Student Life Danny Trujillo.
Specifically, the grant will:
Expand the LEAD (Leadership Exploration and Discovery) Program, which enjoyed a successful pilot year in 2016-17. LEAD consists of a one-week pre-orientation for first-generation and underserved students, with an emphasis on both academic and social adjustment. During the academic year, these students will continue to be offered peer-mentoring (from students and also from members of the recently-formed Alumni Committee on Community and Inclusion), skill-building workshops in financial literacy, career development, community partnerships, and other areas. Students will also co-sponsor a three-day intensive social leadership training session in the fall, with follow-up activities that will lead to the implementation of student-developed projects.
Launch an outreach program to the families of first-generation students, which aims to help parents and other caregivers who have not attended college, to understand the expectations and circumstances of college in general and Sarah Lawrence specifically, so that they can better support their students’ experience. The program will also help the family as a whole navigate college life to ensure positive learning outcomes for the student. At least two day-long events will be held each fall.
Social Justice and Leadership skills training opportunities will partner these students with all of the College’s student leaders, empowering them to fully participate in student leadership activities and build a climate that nurtures diversity and inclusion. An intensive training module, along with two follow-up sessions, will offer community-building and social-justice workshops on issues of race, class, gender identity and expression, religion, and sexuality; conflict-management training; and action-planning workshops with follow-up activities that will lead to the implementation of student-developed projects. In the second year, students will also co-sponsor the three-day intensive social leadership training session in the fall.