ABOUT THIS BOOK
In On Social Mobility: A Brief History of First Generation College Students@Michigan: 2007-2019 Dwight Lang examines experiences and conditions of student upward mobility in higher education, in general, and on one public, selective college campus: The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He documents the origins and growth of an undergraduate group for students who are first in their families to attend and graduate from college. Starting in 2007 we see early years of the group’s establishment in the Department of Sociology. As First-gens@Michigan evolves over the next decade we better understand how a grassroots, student movement helps inspire a university to publicly acknowledge the complexities of social class heritage and diversity. On Social Mobility explores various institutional changes that eventually lead to the establishment of a new student center: First Generation Student Gateway.
Lang describes how working and lower class students openly acknowledge and struggle with challenging experiences on a predominantly middle and upper middle class campus. We appreciate how first generation students are risk takers, boundary crosser, and successful social class immigrants. Resourceful first-gen efforts become the basis of connection and community as students begin their social mobility journeys. Overtime a public story emerges: stories making the invisible visible; stories of courage and persistence; stories of structural changes; a thoughtful student movement that is hard to ignore. We come to better understand the power of shared determination.