The Georgetown Scholarship Program held its fourth annual ProudToBeGSP promotional campaign to highlight its support for first-generation and low-income students.
The ProudToBeGSP week, running from Nov. 13 through Nov. 18, started as an initiative to spread awareness about low-income and first-generation students at Georgetown. GSP provides more than 650 undergraduate students with mentorship, advising and financial assistance. Over 70 percent of GSP’s current students are among the first in their family to attend college.
Called GSProud in previous years, the week launched under its new name this year to focus more on student
stories, according to GSP Assistant Director of Marketing and Events Mariana Gonzalez (MSB ’15).
“They wanted to focus more on the stories of students and, in past years, a lot of people had shared stories about how impactful the program was or how the staff was, which was great,” Gonzalez said. “But we like to say a lot of our secret sauce of GSP lies in students and their own stories, so that’s where the focus of ProudToBeGSP has come from this year.”
The ProudToBeGSP week consisted of programs including a social media campaign, a family dinner for GSP students and a community art share that helps GSP students share their experiences and become more comfortable with their identity.
GSP Director Missy Foy said the ProudToBeGSP week makes the GSP community and its contributions to Georgetown more visible.
“This campaign is a powerful statement about our program and our students, and hopefully about Georgetown as a whole: demonstrating that these students belong and are valued and integral members of our campus; they enrich it and make it a better place,” Foy wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Since its inception in 2004, GSP has served over 1,400 students. Originally comprised of 50 students and created to raise money to offset student loans, GSP has grown into an essential support network for many first-generation students on campus.
GSP member Emilio Joubert (COL ’19) said the ProudToBeGSP campaign helps break socioeconomic barriers on campus.
“People get to see that it’s not just legacy students or just third legacy students or super rich students who go to Georgetown,” Joubert said. “People are seeing that there’s another dimension to what a Georgetown student is, and I feel like ProudToBeGSP really promotes that fact.”
GSP held a Social Media Day of Action on Wednesday, where GSP students shared their stories and why they are proud to be GSP students on social media platforms with the hashtag #ProudToBeGSP. The campaign also encouraged students outside of GSP to share why they are proud that GSP exists on campus according to Emily Kaye (COL’18), GSP’s student board chair.
Kaye said the Social Media Day of Action helps facilitate dialogue about diversity on campus.
“It’s a space for students to think about and reflect why diversity is valuable to the entire campus and how they’ve benefitted from students’ feeling empowered to talk about themselves within the classroom,” Kaye said.
The social media campaign also contributes to a shift in how scholarship and first-generation students are perceived, according to Foy.
“It’s really important that students’ experiences are being told in their own voices,” Foy wrote. “That’s like culture shifting. So, it’s not a social media campaign, it’s a culture shift that we’re seeing.”
The ProudToBeGSP Art Share, the only event of the week open to the whole Georgetown community, included an open mic and opportunities for GSP members to share their experiences. This event provided a creative outlet for the Georgetown community to learn more about GSP students’ experiences, according to GSP Event Coordinator Kosi Ndukwe (COL ’19).
Roberto Cabrera (COL ’19), GSP Peer Mentor Program chair, said ProudToBeGSP week helps members embrace their identities as low-income or first-generation.
“ProudToBeGSP is for first-generation college students to have pride in their identities, sort of just take their name back, take the label and own it, and I think that’s extremely vital in creating solidarity among the Georgetown Scholarship Program” he said.
Tithi Patel (SFS ’18), GSP’s Outreach and Strategic Partnership chair, said ProudToBeGSP week provides a way for the Georgetown community to celebrate socioeconomic diversity on campus.
“Campaigns like this week allow people from all backgrounds, not just those from a lower income bracket, to explore what socioeconomic status means and celebrate the stories that color our student body,” Patel said.