Only Three Days Left, and an Uphill Climb

First Gen final donors  8)

Gentle Readers,

We had a wonderful first week on our First Generation Students: Telling Our Stories.

We’ve continued to get donations that represent generosity from a full range of income levels.

And now we have only three days to go, and we’re still 20% short of the goal we set after blasting through the first cautious goal that our fund-raising coaches had set for us.

We need to have a great three days to be able to launch this project. (Don’t tell our coaches, but we’d love to blast through this new goal too!).

Have you been thinking of donating, but just haven’t yet?  Now’s the time.

I’m thinking, also, that readers of this blog know many people who were First Generation or who support First Generation Students.   It would be wonderful if you’d share this link with them.

We cannot wait to launch this project.

And first, we must raise the funds.

Thanks so much for your support and your sharing.

First Generation Students: Telling our Stories

They Don’t Know Our Stories


Jane Presenting 2 (2)I had the enormous privilege of working last week with Joe Lambert, the founding director of the Center for Digital Storytelling.   We ran a workshop for 9 people who had come from across the country to learn to create digital stories.  They gathered so that they might better know themselves and be known.  They told rich and moving stories of every day life, of those they love, and of transformative moments in their lives.  They worked with an intensity that is common in these workshops to create a story in which their audience would see, hear and feel the many layers of their stories.

On the first morning, Joe said “We no longer live among those who know our stories”.

I thought about how relevant that statement is for First Generation Students who arrive on campus as strangers, whose lives and experiences are not represented in the books or class discussions, who may learn as they realize their differences to simply stay silent.

I believe strongly that knowing the stories of all student enriches everyone.  I believe that we learn more about the range of human experiences,  more about opportunity and obstacles to success, more about making higher education accessible.

I’ve written here before  about our First Generation Students: Telling our Stories project.

We have 10 days to go, and still almost $2500 to raise.

We’d love to blast through that goal to take our workshops to more campuses, at no cost to the students or those who support them.

We love generous donations of $5.   We have loved the generosity of those for whom success in school has translated into economic security.   We have been gratified when people have shared our project with others who would want to be part of creating First Generation Student Stories.

We cannot wait to see what the next 10 days brings.  We know that we’ll be hearing rich stories of Being First.

Will you join us?






We’re at the half way mark of our Crowd Funding campaign to launch our project of creating and curating First Generation Students’ Digital Stories.   After an amazingly successful first week, we doubled our goal.    As of this moment, we’re well on our way to achieving that new more ambitious goal with the support of almost 100 generous souls who have donated $5, $50, and sometimes much more.  We’d love to blast past this new goal, too, to more fully cover the actual costs of the project.

We are beyond excited that this project is going to happen.

We’d love for you to  be a part of of this adventure.  More information here.

Excellent Work on First Generation Issues

For readers interested in First Generation students and the challenges they face on campus (and beyond), I highly recommend Lynda Lopez’s First Generation Students blog and Twitter feed.

Lynda was active in starting national and campus “Class Confessions” conversations around socioeconomic issues while an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and in advocating for First Generation and Low Income students at U of C.

I posted her Class Action essay on 10 Most Classist Things About College on my campus’s Equity and Inclusion Facebook page and it was shared widely across departments.

I don’t know anyone more knowledgable about how First Generation students are faring at elite colleges around the country.  I’ve learned a ton from her.

You’ll learn a lot from her, too.

First Generation Student Voices: The Generosity Abounds


Jane Presenting 2 (2)

Two days into this campaign to raise funds for First Generation Student digital storytelling workshops around the country, and I’m humbled by the generosity.

We have $5 donations from students, $100 donations from old college friends  that I haven’t seen for years, multiple donations from academic peeps who get that together, we can fund what foundations and grant makers won’t.

But it’s only day three, and we still have a ways to go.

We were advised by our coaches to be cautious in setting our target, even while this project needs at least twice that $5000.

It’s very exciting that we’re on target to blast past that caution and fully fund this project.

Perhaps our coaches didn’t get that First Gen Students and their supporters are tenacious.

I hope that you’ll join us, with $5, $50, or more.     Student voices will be heard in these deliberations about how First Generation Students can thrive in college.


Hearing the Stories of First Generation Students













I spent almost all of my years in school and much of my young adulthood trying to hide that I did not have enough money for the things I needed — and wanted.

So it is a new and frankly exciting experience for me to be planning the launch of a “crowdfunding” campaign with an amazing team, most of whom were  first-generation students themselves.  We have a powerful idea, and now we’re inviting friends, family, colleagues, and anyone who knows the importance of hearing others’ stories to pitch in with $5 or $50 –or even just the generosity of sharing news about the campaign with others.

We will create a “mobile story lab” to take to campuses across the country to craft digital stories of Being First. We’ll share these stories on campuses and in a digital archive.  These stories will be heard.

In the workshops, we’ll work together for three days to find our stories and to then weave together recordings of our voices, our images and video clips, and sound to represent the complexities of crossing social borders into the world of college, that world where many of us felt both more at home and more alone than we had in any other place.

We will be launching our campaign on Monday.  I’ll update here when we launch.

I’d be honored if you would join us!

Listening to First Generation Students: You can help

Gentle Readers,

If you’ve been at Education and Class for any time at all, you’ll know of my commitments to First Generation students, my growing interest in digital media for amplifying voices that would not otherwise be heard, and my particular interest in bringing these two areas together.

With my partners Class Action, I’m launching a project to take digital storytelling workshops to campuses across the country. Because it is so challenging to find funding through traditional foundations and grants for projects in which we *listen* to First Generation students before rushing in to try to fix what ails them, we are experimenting with Crowd Funding this project.

I’d be very very grateful if readers of this blog would join this project by being part of the network who will be publicizing the project launch and then updates along the way.   Our platform (and academic-only site) will provide you with some video-based training and ideas for spreading the word.  You’d post on your blogs, Facebook pages, emails to supporters of First Gen students, or other networks.

This would take less than an hour a week.  You’d be making it possible for First Gen students across the country to work together to craft elegant multi-media stories of their time in college, you’ll be learning something about fund-raising for projects that don’t interest more conventional funders, and you’ll be part of creating a digital portal for these stories so that we can all learn from the storytellers.

If you’d be willing to consider helping us to spread the word about this project as we approach launch (Planned for October  27),  and then during the four week campaign, you can  find much more information at the link below:

Champion Sign Up Page

Thank you so much!