Creating Class Dialogue: Money Matters Week

Budgeting and financial aid cannot fully alleviate class differences on campus. Too often reduced to a matter of socioeconomic status, money matters in how it shapes worldviews, goals, priorities, and social capital.

Money Matters week seeks to create space on campus for conversations surrounding class, identity, and Northwestern’s demographics. Through events and an awareness campaign, Student Enrichment Services (SES) and Northwestern University Quest Scholars are focusing the event on why money matters, not matters of money.

Student Affairs’ SES office predominantly works with Northwestern’s low-income and/or first-generation college student (LIFG) population. NU Quest Scholars is a community and advocacy group for the same community, but any student ally can join. Questbridge, a national scholarship organization that matches high-achieving low-income students with top universities, serves as the basis of the Quest Scholars chapters across the country.

Community members of all backgrounds are encouraged to participate through listening and sharing perspectives at events and in their own conversations. Programming begins Monday, April 3 with a workshop on Social Identity, led by Social Justice Education from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. in Parkes Hall Room 122.

Join a faculty panel “The Cost of Resilience” on Tuesday, April 4 in Harris 107 from 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. The panel features a mix of scholars across disciplines, including Mary Pattillo, Alejandro Carrion, and Edith Chen, moderated by Yamil Avivi.

Other events will be more intimate and focused on building the LIFG community. Network and chat with alumni Wednesday evening at the "Life After Northwestern" event at 6:00 p.m in the Performance Hall at 2122 Sheridan. On Thursday, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Patricia Telles-Irvin will host students invited by SES for dinner at her home.

To gather reflections and personal stories, the week will use a digital whiteboard initiative which asks that staff, faculty, and students share how class and classism shows up in their everyday lives at Northwestern. There will also be a blog of anonymous testimonials. Staff, faculty, and students are encouraged to submit their own experiences. Other Quest Scholars chapters have also sponsored Money Matters week awareness initiatives. You can check out photos from their campus dialogues, too.

Further reflecting on how money matters

  • How do socioeconomic status and class have different implications?

  • What does class mean to you? Do you think others define you by your class?

  • What experiences might you incorrectly assume your students/peers have access to?

  • How does class have different implications across other identities?

  • How can you improve the inclusiveness of spaces you influence on campus and in other communities?

Learn more about recent Student Enrichment Services initiatives here.