President Mantella at a REP4 screening party

REP4 National Convening showcases student ideas for education equity

The premiere of the 2022 REP4 National Convening September 22 highlighted ideas from high school students around the country who shared their ideas on how to make higher education more equitable and accessible to their peers. 

Jordan Bernal, a Grand Valley student from Victoria, Texas, watched the premiere during a screening party with other students and university leaders in President Philomena V. Mantella’s office. He had been part of one of the first REP4 student cohorts in 2020.

“Seeing what we did in summer 2020 turn into something like this, and to see it grow, and keep growing is exciting,” Bernal said after viewing the program. “Being a part of it the whole way makes me feel proud and honored.”

The premiere was the culmination of a year’s work by student designers and their mentors. Over the summer, Regional Summits held at five REP4 Alliance member campuses brought together hundreds of high school learners to teach them design thinking skills. Those groups then put those skills into practice by developing ideas for more equitable pathways to higher education.

Mantella told past REP4 participants who had gathered in her office for the viewing that she hoped they learned the importance of elevating voices not often heard while also creating a network that would serve them beyond their college years.

“Reach out for help if there’s any time along the way that you feel like, ‘I’m overwhelmed,’ or, ‘I can’t solve this problem on my own,’ because you have a network,” Mantella told the group. “Part of REP4 is about having a network. I still have a network of people I go to when I need support.”

Pitches for education prototypes from students who had attended REP4 Regional Summits at Amarillo College, Boise State University, Fort Valley State University, Grand Valley and Shippensburg University can be viewed at the REP4 Convening website.

Students speak with GVSU leaders at a REP4 watch party.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts
Students speak with GVSU leaders at a REP4 watch party.
Students gathered with university leaders during a premiere party for the REP4 National Convening hosted by President Mantella.

Students may also register to upvote for their favorite prototype ideas. Student voters are eligible to participate in the first-ever REP4 Global Learner Design Summit in 2023. Summit participants will receive guaranteed college admission to multiple REP4 institutions and can compete for a full-ride scholarship to any REP4 Alliance school.

Opportunities to watch the REP4 Convening and participate in upvoting will continue through the end of October.

Here are the finalists presented by high school learners who participated in their Regional Summits:

Amarillo College

  • First Year Experience 2.0 – A class for first-year college students offering life-skill workshops in financial literacy, technology literacy and mental health.
  • S2S – Steps to Success – A class for high school seniors and their parents to help build understanding and support of their students’ future plans while connecting them with students and mentors with similar interests.

Boise State University

  • Cracking the Opportunity Code – A program that makes internships available to high school students designed to help them choose a college career path.
  • Wolf in Sheep Clothing – An anonymous program to combat imposter syndrome among students experiencing a sense that they don’t belong or can’t be successful.

Fort Valley State University

  • Calm Room – Creating a judgment-free safe place on campus that allows students to relax and de-stress, while connecting them with mental health resources.
  • Food Solutions – A program to create a food market and food truck system that would provide low-cost access to nutritional foods for food-insecure families. The idea would also include creation of community gardens and can drives to help stock the program.

Grand Valley State University

  • Monthly Care Package – An app that allows students to select from a wide variety of basic products they need and have them delivered to their residence. Offerings may include food, toiletries and other products designed to make college life easier for those in need.
  • Project 180: Grand Valley State University – An app designed to reverse the perception of failure into a lesson that can be used to create positive outcomes for students. The app can also connect students to personal, professional assistance, if desired.

Shippensburg University

  • Engaging Connections – A program to encourage the use of peer-to-peer study resources and relationships in classes.
  • Two Way Street – A program to help faculty members better understand their students’ learning styles through learning-style quizzes, greater interactivity and ongoing feedback from learners.

To view the 2022 REP4 National Convening and vote on prototype ideas, visit the REP4 website.


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