Students Try to Break Taboo Around Social Class on Campus

Talking About Class 1

Andrew Shurtleff for The Chronicle

Ashley Blackwell, Katy Hutto, and Heather Berg (left to right) started a group to spark candid discussions about socioeconomic class at the U. of Virginia.

When Heather Berg arrived at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2011, she was struck by the seemingly posh lifestyle many of her fellow students enjoyed. Dressing up for football games, going out to dinner on a whim, paying the steep admission for a day at the races: To Ms. Berg, a first-generation college student, the sheen of privilege was unsettling.

Now finishing her second year, she has friends who also felt that culture shock at first. But it's been hard to find them, and