First Generation Cornell Students Attend 1vyG Conference

Over 20 Cornellians attended the second annual 1vyG Conference at Harvard this past weekend where they planned initiatives to help students who are the first in their family to attend college. Attendees gathered to share their stories, networked and “recognized that being first in your family to go to college is an evidence of perseverance, resilience and strength,” according to Janilya Baizack ’17, a member of First in Class — a Cornell organization that provides support for first-generation college students and supports the IvyG Conference. First generation students make up 14 percent of Cornell’s undergraduate community, according to Nicholas Karavolias ’18, a member of First in Class. Nayara Luna ’19, also a member of First in Class, said the conference inspired many of the Cornell attendees to improve the experience of first generation students.. “I’ve never been in such a passionate and energetic setting, where hands were flying up and people were finishing each other’s sentences,” Luna said.

Textbook Rentals to Bridge Economic Barriers

First-generation and economically challenged college students can now to borrow their textbooks free of charge from the Cornell Lending Library. Students from First in Class — a campus-wide initiative that supports first-generation college students — began planning the Lending Library last semester, according to Sarah Anderson, a  program coordinator in the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives. Nicholas Karavolias ’18 has been leading the program since its beginning, when he noticed students struggling to afford their textbooks, he said. “I realize that high textbook prices are a barrier to students with socioeconomic problems faced,” Karavolias said. “Some students will pick up extra hours of work, and some will not pick up their textbooks and fall behind academically.”
The idea behind the Lending Library has already been implemented in several other colleges, according to Anderson.