I created an affinity group for first generation students at my graduate school. Shortly after, the school's diversity committee emailed the student government informing us that there would be a diversity committee panel on the issue of being first gen. It seems like sort of an informal lunch between students and faculty.
I am thinking there are two possible reasons the school is holding this meeting. 1) they are trying to look good by taking initiative before students start making noise or 2) the school cares deeply about the issue. I'm inclined to believe its reason 1 because the school took zero steps to contact me or any of my first gen acquaintances to see what help or resources we needed, and is only having a "first" discussion about this issue right after I created the group even though this is by no means a new issue.
At any rate, not sure the motives for the meeting matter except insofar as me knowing how much I can get the school to change its approach to this issue. In other words how much do they actually care about what I have to say and how do I hold them accountable to act on any requests I make? I have a bunch of (very actionable and easy) ideas - e.g. distributing surveys that ask students questions such as "are you first gen" and then having the school appropriately match an advisor/mentor - but is this the forum to express those ideas? If so, at what level of detail? What I really care about is just getting the school to do the things I want it to do. How much work is done in that meeting, and how do I follow up "behind the scenes"? How much leverage do I have as a student? Any advice appreciated!