The Georgetown Scholars Program emphasized allyship through its family dinner, a film screening and the organization’s first speaker series event during its fifth annual GSP Advocacy Week, also known as GSProud.
Founded in 2004, the Georgetown Scholars Program has served over 1,600 first-generation and low-income Georgetown students and currently provides support for over 650 undergraduates, according to the GSP website.
GSP helps even the playing field between low-income and first-generation students and their affluent peers, according to Aleida Olvera (COL ’20), the vice president of the Georgetown University Student Association and a member of GSP.
“It’s easy to forget that financial stability is something students struggle with when the median family income at Georgetown is $229,100, whereas only 3.1% of students’ family income falls in the bottom 20%,” Olvera wrote in an email to The Hoya. “With GSP, the ground is somewhat leveled with our affluent peers.”
The group’s advocacy week raises awareness of and support for first-generation students at Georgetown, which has a reputation of attracting a relatively wealthy student body, according to GSP Executive Director Melissa Foy (COL ’03).
GSP debuted its speaker series, which served as a forum for Georgetown students, staff and faculty to share their experiences and reflect on ways to create a more supportive environment for first-generation and low-income students, March 21.
The series featured professors, students and alums, including Marcia Chatelain, Queen Adesuyi (COL ’16), Hashwinder Singh (COL ’20) and Derrick Arthur-Cudjoe (NHS ’19). (Full disclosure: Arthur-Cudjoe formerly served as a staff photographer for The Hoya.)
This year, GSP prioritized in-person events over social media posting. Liz Fieschko (SFS ’20), GSP strategic partnerships and advocacy team member, highlighted the goal of creating a stronger relationship not only among GSP members but also within the Georgetown community as a whole throughout GSP Advocacy Week.
“Throughout our programming and outreach campaign for GSProud2019, we hoped to make clear our theme of allyship,” Fieschko wrote in an email to The Hoya. “With these efforts, the GSProud Campaign, today, serves as reminder of the aspiration for a more integrated and interconnected Georgetown.”
The week began on Monday night with the “GSProud: I Am Phenomenal” dinner for GSP members. GSP partnered with female arts magazine Bossier for a “Colors of Your Personality” creative painting event Wednesday.
GSP hosted a screening of the documentary film “Unlikely,” which depicts five individuals’ stories regarding the college dropout crisis and the barriers in students’ educational and professional pursuits, Thursday evening.
This year’s GSP advocacy week comes at a time when many first-generation and low-income students at Georgetown may need more support and recognition from the university as a whole given the recent college admissions scandal.
Through GSP advocacy week, GSP staff members and student leaders hope to send out a message of solidarity and inclusivity to both GSP and non-GSP members at Georgetown, according to Olvera.
“For students in GSP, I hope this week encourages you to use your story and experiences to leave an impact in whatever spaces you occupy,” Olvera said. “You belong at Georgetown. We bring in perspectives, experiences and narratives that no one else has. Be proud of the work you put into getting into this university and the work that you are putting in to graduate.”
This article was updated March 27 to correct GSP’s new name and Adesuyi’s class year.