A board showing sticky notes with ideas surrounding the word potential.

REP4 National Convening to showcase student-led higher ed innovations

Unique interactive program invites learners to upvote best ideas from their peers for further development

Students and educators from around the country are invited to participate in a national event to vote for the most meaningful improvements and best new directions in higher education. This is the second year of the REP4 National Convening, which will be an online experience on Sept. 22. 

REP4 stands for Rapid Education Prototyping for learners, change, equity and community. The REP4 experience takes being student centered to the next level. It situates students at the center of their own learning process and in the lead when designing more powerful and inclusive educational institutions. 

Philomena V. Mantella, president of REP4’s founding organizer and convener, Grand Valley State University, said REP4 is an alliance that puts the power of establishing new, equitable systems for public higher education in the hands of those who have the most at stake - underserved learners. 

 “The National Convening allows us to learn from each other,” Mantella said. “It shares the impact of empowering our students in our institutions. We work together to prototype high-potential ideas, implement them on our campuses and study the impact. We know higher education needs to evolve and REP4 is a tangible example of the power of a collective in transformational change.”

The National Convening, which will begin at 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 22, is the culmination of a year’s worth of work by the REP4 Alliance, a nationwide public university partnership that invites high school learners to use design thinking principles to create new, more equitable pathways to higher education. This year’s online convening will showcase the student journey, the ideas created by high school students at regional summits and how the alliance of institutions accelerates change. 

Students and mentors working together at a REP4 regional summit in Detroit.
Students and mentors working together at a REP4 regional summit in Detroit.
Students and mentors working together at a REP4 regional summit in Detroit.
A REP4 regional summit in Detroit over the summer hosted dozens of student designers who led work developing ideas that could help make higher education more accessible. President Philomena V. Mantella and others helped guide the learner-led process.

During and after the National Convening, students will have the opportunity to upvote the ideas they believe will strengthen their communities. Those ideas will be further developed and deployed as prototypes to assess their effectiveness before wider adoption.

Schools are able to host classroom watch parties to support student participation and help students take advantage of expanded college opportunities. Students may also participate individually by viewing the event recording from home.

 Participants will have chances to win scholarships, gift cards and the opportunity to participate in the inaugural REP4 Global Learner Design Summit in the summer of 2023.

In addition to GVSU, other REP4 Alliance partners are Amarillo College, a community college in Texas; Boise State University, a Research II university in Idaho; Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, a statewide network of universities and community colleges; Fort Valley State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College or University) in Georgia; San Diego State University, an HSI (Hispanic-Serving Institution) and AANAPISI (Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution) in California; and Shippensburg University, part of the state system in Pennsylvania.

To learn more about the REP4 National Convening and to register, visit rep4.org/convening.


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