GV seeks input from high school students in National Convening of REP4 alliance


Courtesy / GVSU (Kendra Stanley-Mills)

Grace Smith, Staff Writer

On Sept. 22 students met for the National Convening of Rapid Education Prototyping (REP4).

Piloted in 2020 by Grand Valley State University, REP4 has led to the formation of alliances with various institutions across the country to assist high school juniors and seniors in achieving their goals for higher education. This program is supported by a number of higher education institutions nationwide.

The goals of the program involve roughly 10 to 20 high school students from various backgrounds. However, the program primarily engages with students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, first-generation college students or other historically underrepresented communities.

With the assistance of adult leaders, the students work together to pitch ideas for the betterment of higher education and college students’ livelihoods.

Students initially met in July at GVSU’s Allendale and Detroit campuses for the regional summits. During this time, students worked together to take their ideas to the drawing board and decide on the goals for their pitch. Later in the month, students met again to workshop their ideas with the assistance of adult leaders and begin plans for developing a prototype.

Attendees heard from REP4 representatives at GVSU, Amarillo College, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities, San Diego State University, Boise State University, Fort Valley State University and Shippensburg University.

As part of a montage of quotes from university leaders before presentations began, students also had a chance to hear from President Mantella, the developer of REP4.

“Think of ourselves in collaboration, not in competition,” Mantella said at the REP4 convening. “We are going to be that drop of water that creates the ripple effect. What we learn today we want to share, because we want to make education better everywhere.”

Through REP4, participants have the opportunity to upvote their favorite pitches now through the end of October. Representatives from GVSU make up two of the 10 finalists, alongside representatives from Boise State University, Fort Valley State University, Shippensburg University and Amarillo College.

The first idea presented by GVSU representatives is the Monthly Care Package. This group of students has designed an app where college students can request basic necessities such as food items or personal hygiene supplies and have them delivered to their residences. The project is designed to take some of the financial burdens off of busy students.

The second idea that was presented by GVSU student representatives was Project 180. Their initiative was to develop an app used to reframe college students’ thoughts about failure. The app would allow users to select why they are having feelings of failure and gives them tools to view the situation as positive rather than negative. The app also was developed with features to connect college students with mental health professionals if needed.

The benefits of joining REP4 for high school students include free automatic admissions to many of the academic institutions in the alliance, as well as college credit for completing the experience. Students also have the option to compete for scholarships during the event, including the chance to earn a full-ride scholarship to attend college.

President Mantella further reflected upon the benefits of REP4 in a statement to GVNext and the impact it has on students.

 “The National Convening allows us to learn from each other,” Mantella told GVNext. “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.”