Promote 360 Hosts Young Students on Campus Visits for College Inspiration

Promote 360 Hosts Young Students on Campus Visits for College Inspiration

Promote 360

Last year Esther Wang (BS12) was co-president of Promote 360, the SESP organization dedicated to minority well-being. This year, as an English teacher at Chicago Hope Academy, she teamed up with Promote 360 to bring her high school students to campus for a visit. 

The Chicago Hope visit was one of three spring events for Promote 360, which works hard to encourage minority students to attend college. Another visit was with the 5th- and 6th-grade pen pals from Jane Addams Elementary School that Promote 360 members have been corresponding with all year. Finally, a visit from UNO Sandra Cisneros Charter School in Chicago introduced 60 second graders and kindergartners to college.

On all three visits, Promote 360 volunteers led campus tours for the students and hosted them for lunch. After lunch at a dining hall, the high school students heard a student panel and an Office of Admission information session about college. The elementary school students’ visits included games and a talk.

Wang says, “I brought my students to Northwestern to expose them to college life and get a firsthand account from real students — especially minority students — who are smart, hardworking, motivated, and ambitious. I also wanted to encourage them to have high expectations for themselves: I hope my kids will attend colleges where students actually live on campus and where there's a strong sense of school culture, rather than a commuter campus or city college.”

Promote 360

“I'd love to see my students go on to start their own student groups and organize and petition for justice causes and get work-study jobs and things like that. I want them to feel that schools like Northwestern are in their league if they only work hard enough,” she adds.

Wang's students reported that they liked the Promote 360 volunteers and felt like they could talk to them as real people. They especially liked the buffet-style dining halls and thought the campus was pretty. “They found the panel very helpful for giving them perspective on college: what things to look forward to, what pitfalls to avoid, what they should be doing now to prepare for the future, etc. At the end of the day, two or three students told me they now intended to apply to Northwestern,” says Wang.

The majority of the UNO students who visited on May 15 had never met anybody who went to college, according to their teacher. Promote 360 president Karen Wilber says, “We feel that we accomplished giving both the students and the parents that came as chaperones a better idea of what college is, making such a distant idea seem much more tangible.”

The Jane Addams visit on May 17 allowed Promote 360 members to meet their pen pals. “We got to know each other from the letters, and started talking about what college is. We finally got to meet them when they visited, and talked more in depth about what college is and shared what our experiences are. Again, we feel that we have a created a more clear idea of what college is, and have encouraged the kids to start thinking about their futures,” says Wilber.

Promote 360 serves the SESP community and the community at large. The group mentors Chicago and Evanston middle and high school students in an effort to promote college attendance among underrepresented minorities. Promote 360 also sponsors lectures, panel discussions, SESP community events and programs related to career exploration. All SESP students are invited to join Promote 360. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. every Monday during the school year in the second floor commons of Annenberg Hall.

The multicultural student group Promote 360 is supported by alumni donations to the School of Education and Social Policy. 

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 3/27/14