I spent the past few weeks working with my colleague, Dr. Tracy Butts, 19 cool writing mentors from our English Department, and 191 incoming freshmen at Chico State. The students are part of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) on our campus. Students spend two weeks living in the dorms– and as first generation college students–they are introduced to staff and resources for support on campus.

Since 2006, we’ve included an “English component” to EOP’s Summer Bridge program, offering an introduction to the kinds of literacies students may experience in college. This summer, we connected with the Letters to the Next President, a national program supporting student voices. Our 191 students wrote letters to the next president, which can be found on the Youth Voices website. They wrote about immigration, access to education and health care, about support for the homeless, and their reactions to gun policies. The letters do a particularly beautiful job of humanizing the statistics and “facts” we hear in relation to these national issues.

The students nominated about 30 of their peers to represent the letters on film:

#2NextPrez: Letters to the Next President from Kim Jaxon on Vimeo.

Looking forward to continuing our work with students as they begin their college careers this fall…