On May 2, 2016, the Bureau of Study Counsel (BSC) presented the Joseph L. Barrett Award to Jasmine Fernandez ’16, Ana Barros ’16, and Ted White ’17. The award commemorates Joseph L. Barrett ’73, by honoring exceptional students who give their time to support their peers in developing more meaningful college experiences.
Jasmine, Ana, and Ted were honored for their contributions to the lives of first-generation students at Harvard College. They created and cultivated the Community Meetings hosted by the First Generation Student Union. They worked with administrators to create a First-Gen Welcome Event and to craft the Senior Reflections Panel, both of which have quickly become established meaningful traditions for incoming and graduating students. They helped in the formation of the first 1vyG Conference at Brown University in 2015, which brought together first-generation students and college professionals who wanted to consider how to attend to the concerns and experiences of first-generation students at Ivy League colleges. This year, they organized and hosted the second IvyG Conference at Harvard, which took place in February 2016.
These initiatives have made a real difference in the lives of first-generation students, providing them with essential navigational support, networking, practical information, and perspective-taking. The initiatives make clear to first-generation students that they are full, valued, essential members of the community; introduce them to peer and professional resources on campus; and offer basic cultural capital through small-group conversations. These authentic, inspiring, and effective events have brought attention to and celebrated the experiences of first-generation students for the Harvard College community.