SESP Opportunities Fund Supports Socioeconomic Diversity Dialogues, February 17-20

SESP Opportunities Fund Supports Socioeconomic Diversity Dialogues, February 17-20


Socioeconomic diversity will be the focus for the Northwestern community during a weeklong discussion of class, identity and the college experience from February 17 to 20. Money Matters was organized by SESP seniors Erin Turner and Emily Rivest with support from the SESP Opportunities Fund.

The line-up of Money Matters discussion events hosted by the Quest Scholars Network is as follows:

  • February 17 – Fireside with President Morton Schapiro, 4 p.m., McCormick Tribune Forum
    President Schapiro will respond to questions about socioeconomic diversity and inclusion. Refreshments will follow.
  • February 18 - Walk a Mile - Dinner Dialogues, 6 p.m., Sargent Dining Hall
    Dinner dialogues provide an opportunity to learn and understand the experiences of Northwestern students.
  • February 19 - First Generation Documentary Screening, 7 p.m., L07 Harris Hall
    This film follows four high school students over three years to discover how accessible a college education is to first-generation and low-income students. Snacks will be served.
  • February 20 - Alfred Lubrano, 7:30 p.m., 107 Harris Hall
    Medill graduate Alfred Lubrano, the author of Limbo: Blue-Collar Roots, White-Collar Dreams, will discuss his own experiences, his research and Northwestern. He investigates individuals torn between the world they grew up in and the life they aspire to.

“Only recently has discussion about socioeconomic diversity surfaced at Northwestern,” says Turner, a social policy major. “As the only student group that provides a community for and advocates on behalf of low-income students, Quest has been at the forefront of this conversation. This is an incredibly important topic, and Money Matters is the first major effort to spark a dialogue about class and money at Northwestern.”

Turner views the discussion series in a personal context. She says, "Until my sophomore year, I felt uncomfortable talking about my socioeconomic background with friends. It wasn't until I became part of Quest and grew my own confidence that I started speaking up. I want everyone to feel accepted at Northwestern — regardless of finances — from their freshman year on. This isn't going to happen until our campus starts having an open dialogue about the relation between money and the Northwestern experience. I've been working on Money Matters for about a year now, and am excited about its potential to initiate that conversation." Turner and Rivest, also a social policy major, are the social co-chairs for Quest. 

The SESP Opportunities Fund was established in 2009 by alumni and friends who wanted to support the academic and community endeavors of SESP undergraduates.
The fund provides support for such initiatives as attending a conference, initiating community service or developing an extracurricular organization. For example, last year the fund supported a nonprofit leadership conference, travel for a Supreme Court visit and a global engagement conference.

Any SESP student with an academic or community project may submit a letter to assistant dean Susan Olson requesting an Opportunities Fund grant. Details are on the Opportunities Fund web page

Photo: Erin Turner (bottom row, third from left) and Emily Rivest (bottom row, second from left) at a Quest ice cream social.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 2/13/14