Our Mission: Representation

The mission of Student Bridges to increase college access and success for underrepresented students on the university campus and in our neighboring communities by building partnerships with local schools and community organizations, offering college awareness, preparation and success activities, and advocating for enhanced institutional and public policies and practices.

Preparatory Mentoring

Student Bridges hosts courses and internships that provide UMass students with academic credit to mentor participants at partner schools and programs in surrounding communities with a vision hoping to expand even further.

Community Outreach

Student Bridges staff work with student groups, local schools, and community-based organizations to develop and implement college awareness and preparation workshops, trips to UMass, and community-based events.


Student Bridges collaborates with Success Centers and Registered Student Organizations to provide support and networks for underrepresented students enrolled at UMass Amherst.


Student Bridges works with faculty, schools and community organizations as well as national and local coalitions to advocate for policies and practices that support college access and success for underrepresented (low-income, first-generation, students of color, etc.) and historically marginalized students. This includes students who have issues with affordability, academic preparation, social capital, parental support, transportation, child care, etc.
  • Developing materials that advocate for policies and practices that enhance college access for underrepresented students.
  • Collaborating with other advocacy bodies and coalitions, including the UMass Amherst Student Government Association, the United States Student Association, and the Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts.
  • Providing training and leadership development opportunities for community members, youth and UMass students to strengthen their research, policy evaluation, grassroots organizing, and advocacy skills.


Over the course of the last several decades, higher education has become the main symbol of and platform for upward social mobility. Within that same time period, access to higher education for underrepresented students has remained low and new barriers have been added in the form of sharp increases in the cost of attendance at colleges and universities across the country. While financial barriers have traditionally been a significant hurdle for underrepresented students, history has shown that coping with the climate of a college or university campus has been a clear source of problems facing underrepresented students once admitted to an institution of higher education. At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, racially charged events such as the Mill House Incident in 1970, the racial riot after Game 7 of the 1986 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Mets known as the Southwest Incident or the racially motivated attack on a Resident Assistant... Read more


Student Bridges (SB) aims to expand community partnerships, solidify campus partners to increase programming, and increase policy advocacy campaigns. SB has existing partnerships with Upward Bound at Commerce in Springfield, Holyoke High School, and Amherst Regional Middle School. SB seeks the opportunity to expand into alternative high schools and other schools that may not yet have a college access and awareness focus or program. We believe it would be a good use of our resources to look into establishing these connections so every student possible is able to view higher education as a viable option.
SB aims to create a foundation of on-campus partners, both academic and social, to create comprehensive programming for the campus community. SB strives to ensure students are being provided support and guidance both in and outside of classes—especially as the majority of students’ time and college experiences occur outside of the classroom. We believe these partnerships will further enhance SB's goal of being a network and space for all aspects of students’ lives. Additionally, SB will continue to develop its capacity as a safe social space to promote wellness and positive mental health for first-generation students and underrepresented students at UMass. By creating a space, tools, and programming that address the holistic student experience, participants in SB programming, community and space will likely share their experiences and learning with peers thereby expanding SB reach.
SB aims to expand its policy and advocacy to include joining campaigns that go beyond supporting underrepresented students on campus and include communities throughout the surrounding areas. We must advocate for policies—particularly those related to access and equity in higher education—to benefit people of all backgrounds, especially underrepresented or marginalized communities and those silenced or threatened by an increasingly divisive geopolitical climate.
SB aims to develop opportunities for student staff training and professional development. As a student-led and run agency, the SB staff are a team of professionally-minded, critical-thinking, and innovative individuals representing a range of talents, skills and academic-foci. We are collaborating to identify campus- and community-based resources for professional training and development to ensure the SB student staff are exposed to and have access to opportunities that will increase their employability and marketability. This investment in our student staff is aligned with a commitment to educational equity and social justice and can help to eliminate employment disparities in the community by ensuring our talented group of leaders have the resources, tools, and training necessary to be competitive in the job market.
SB aims to develop systematic data collection methods to assess program impact and alignment with UMass, Amherst goals for student success. Additionally, we aim to develop a robust tracking system to accurately document Student Bridges’ reach. By developing SB assessment and evaluation, we can better continue to promote UMass values of diversity, equity, and inclusion through informed, targeted and meaningful program development and implementation.
SB aims to submit abstracts to at least one local and one national conference to disseminate the model and associated gains achieved through the work that SB does. We will develop a presentation that captures the history of SB as an organization, its position within the UMass, Amherst campus, and its role as a liaison to neighboring communities for increased access and equity in higher education among first-generation and underrepresented student groups.