CSU, Chico News

Freshmen Educational Program Receives Social Justice Award

Date: 09-03-2015

Zach Phillips
Public Affairs

California State University, Chico’s Raising Educational Achievement in Collaborative Hubs (REACH) program has been selected as the 2015 recipient of the Nicholas Michelli Award for Promoting Social Justice. The award is sponsored by the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER), a membership network that seeks to improve the quality of learning experiences in schools and provide equal access to education for all students.

REACH was recognized for its dedication to serving low-income and first-generation college students; its promotion of collaboration across student peers, faculty, and staff; and its mission of improving learning conditions for all students at CSU, Chico.

Named after a long-time friend of NNER and a presidential professor at City University of New York, the Nicholas Michelli Award for Promoting Social Justice recognizes an individual’s or group’s efforts in improving the quality and availability of education for all students. Some of the criteria for the award include evidence of focused work on issues of equity, evidence that social justice is a constant focus for the group and evidence of progress toward equal and improved learning opportunities for students.

“It means a great deal to us to be recognized [for this award],” said Deanna Pierro, REACH’s coordinator. “Serving the students is gratifying in itself, but there’s something special about taking a moment to recognize each other’s efforts. Receiving this award has further fueled our passion and motivated us to continue our work.”

Recently created under the Chico Student Success Program, REACH seeks to foster the academic success of first-time freshman at CSU, Chico. Pierro says that collaboration and community are two of REACH’s core values. Through connecting first-time freshmen with resources on campus, situating them in “study jam” groups twice a week for peer tutoring and pairing them with junior- or senior-level peer mentors, REACH creates a web of support that allows its new students to thrive on campus.

“Collaboration is an integral part of who we are at REACH,” Pierro says. “We fully recognize that it takes a village.”

The award will be presented at the opening session of the NNER Annual Conference, slated for Thursday, Oct. 1, on CSU, Chico’s campus.

For more information on the NNER partnership program and its annual conference, visit the NNER website and the conference website. For more information about REACH at CSU, Chico, visit REACH’s website.