To help low-income students keep up with the new form of instruction amid the coronavirus crisis, the Collective Success Network is providing refurbished laptops to students in the Philadelphia area.

The donations target especially low-income first-generation students whose social conditions do not allow them to afford a computer to take online courses.

Nancy Li, Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of CSN, said that this is the collective’s first time to conduct a laptop donation.

Nancy Li, Co-Executive Director and Co-Founder of Collective Success Network

“The Laptop Donation Drive was in response to some LIFG students sharing that they do not have the laptops with capacity to take online courses as Philadelphia universities closed campuses and transitioned all classes online” Li said. “This is our first time doing so to help LIFG students in need.”

The laptop donation drive relies on donors in the Philadelphia area or beyond who are willing to share their laptops or financial resources to help low-income, first-generation students achieve their academic and career aspirations amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Alice Ginsberg, director of programming at the collective, said student applicants are matched with available laptops.

Alice Ginsberg, director of programming at the Collective Success Network

“We base our criteria on first-come-first-served basis,” Ginsberg said. “Students should be enrolled in a US college. Matching is done by student computer specifications and what donated laptop is available.”

Until now there is no deadline and no quota when it comes to helping students in need, Li said. The more donors CSN gets, the more students will be served.

“It depends on the generosity of donors and how many laptops they have. That’s why we encourage you to share the CSN website so more people can know of our COVID-19 initiatives and contribute what they can.”

Rachel Rosen is one of the donors who have contributed to CSN’s laptop donation drive so far.

She donated a laptop ––Lenovo ThinkPad–– to a Temple University student.

Rosen, who resides in Center City Philadelphia, wrote in an email that helping students in need is not only contributing to their success but the success of the whole society.

“All I can tell him is ‘have a great rest of the semester,” Rosen wrote.

Created in 2017, CSN has chapters at Temple University, Drexel and UPenn. Their mission, according to their website, is to help first generation college students to achieve their academic and career aspirations through empowerment mentorship, professional development, and leadership opportunities.

Cheryl Zhang, President and founder of Temple First is a partner for CSN’s Temple chapter. Her mission is to facilitate the relationship between CSN and Temple’s students.

Cheryl Zhang, President and founder of Temple First

Temple First, one of the three chapters of CSN, uses social media and meetings to inform low-income, first-generation students about different opportunities and resources available to them.

“We host general body meeting every semester,” Zhang said. “That is one way that we communicate with Temple Student. We also utilize our social media (Instagram and Facebook). Recently, we have partnered with Temple faculties to communicate about our resources to freshman students.”

During this COVID-19 crisis, Li said that the laptop drive is just a part of what CSN does.

“We offer much more than just laptops,” Li said. “This COVID-19 crisis is definitely one of the most interesting experience we’ve had. In a very short time, we were able to get local responses from the Philadelphia community in donations, temporary housing, and laptops. However, the need is much greater given that LIFG students usually have little to no financial safety net and this shutdown is causing a lot of financial stress and food insecurity on top of mental stress.”




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