The Georgetown Scholarship Program launches its third annual #GSProud campaign today with events lined up for the week to celebrate students from low-income and first-generation backgrounds at Georgetown.
#GSProud began two years ago in celebration of GSP’s 10th anniversary as a campaign to acknowledge Georgetown’s socioeconomic diversity and has evolved into a celebration of GSP students’ accomplishments.
GSP provides financial support for over 625 undergraduates — many of whom are first-generation students — through access to resources and support networks, such as peer advisors and free Counseling and Psychiatric Services.
The week’s programming includes a discussion of economic inclusivity on campus on Wednesday titled “Designing a More Class-Inclusive Georgetown.” Featuring a panel discussion and breakout sessions, the event will invite students to share their stories of inclusivity and challenges while discussing ways to improve inclusion at Georgetown.
GSP members and organizers will distribute information and memorabilia from the program at the kickoff in Red Square, and lead a social media initiative beginning Thursday on Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
GSP Student Board President Jason Low (COL ’17) said the campaign’s goal is to change the perceptions of low-income and first-generation college students to showcase their achievements.
“[GSP students] are often categorized in a narrow framework as students of color, ‘poor,’ and come from low-performing high schools without strong networks or knowledge about college life,” Low wrote in an email to The Hoya. “In the moment, we forget that low-income and first-generation college students enrich our community so much more than what the university provides for them.”
GSP Student Board Outreach and Strategic Partnership Co-Chair Bserat Ghebremicael (MSB’17) said the social media aspect of the campaign has increased the visibility of GSP as an organization and its students.
“Since the hashtag was created a couple years ago, I’ve truly seen how #GSProud has really brought the Georgetown community together,” Ghebremicael wrote in an email to The Hoya. “More people are aware of the Georgetown Scholarship Program and we’re really starting to increase the dialogue around low income and/or first generation students.”
Ghebremicael said the increased awareness of socioeconomic issues has led to a tangible response from the university community.
“You see that with the new Advisory Board for Affordability and Access, and with student organizations being cognizant of the students they hire and/or accept,” Ghebremicael wrote. “We still have some work to do, however, and that’s why #GSProud has turned into an annual celebration of students — for more awareness, more dialogue, and more structural change at Georgetown.”
Low said #GSProud works to bring the GSP community and other students together.
“Most of all, #GSProud reminds us that there is an everlasting opportunity to grow and to engage in ongoing dialogue with one another — ultimately with the intention of producing a more supportive and inclusive Hilltop for low-income and first-generation college students,” Low wrote.
Georgetown University Student Association President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said #GSProud is a unique opportunity to highlight student accomplishments.
“#GSProud is always a great time of the year because it’s about empowering those students in GSP because a lot of them are leaders on campus and active change-makers here.” Khan said. “It’s about really putting spotlight on what is an amazing program that has supported an amazing group of students.”
Low said the campaign is meant to remind students that they belong at Georgetown.
“#GSProud is a moment to celebrate the incredible accomplishments and successes of our students. This celebration reaffirms the notion that low-income and first-generation students belong on the Hilltop and demonstrates that Georgetown has cultivated a community where we welcome, include and recognize these students,” Low wrote.
Office of the President Chief of Staff Joseph Ferrara said the organization is central to student life at Georgetown.
“We are deeply proud of the achievements of our students in GSP, and we remain grateful to GSP for its role in contributing to an ever more inclusive, caring and supportive campus community,” Ferrara wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Have a reaction to this article? Write a letter to the editor.