First2Go program offers support and upcoming events for fi rst-generation students

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September 05, 2016

Rachel Librach

rlibrach@uccs.edu

     Everyone wants to win, but when you are the first person in your family to attend college, it can be terrifying.

     The First2Go Program is providing pins with the First2Go logo to encourage and support fi rst-generation students and freshmen and will offer these students monthly meet-ups.

     The program was created by first-year experience coordinator Stacy Carosa this summer.

     A first-generation student is anyone whose parents or guardians did not graduate with a four-year degree, according to Carosa.

     Carosa, a first-generation student herself, understands that students who don’t know what to expect from their college experience can be intimidated.

     “I went into college completely not knowing what questions to ask, feeling alone, feeling frustrated and too scared to ask questions,” said Carosa.

     “It would have been nice to have had other people there who would understand what those feelings were like and what I could have done about them.”

     Addressing the needs of fi rst-generation students and making sure they are given the same chances to succeed as any other college student is important, according to Martin Garnar, dean of the Kraemer Family Library.

     “It’s important that UCCS is recognizing that there are many different characteristics that can have an impact on your education,” said Garnar.

     “We want to make students feel like they can come here and have that right to a higher education, have that good experience, be expected to learn and perform well.”

     First-generation students may feel like there is a sense of community for them to embrace and take advantage of. The pins allow students to feel more comfortable asking questions about their college experience, according to Carosa.

     “I thought if we could find out who within the faculty, staff and student community are also first generations themselves, then (the pins) could be kind of an indicator to other fi rstgeneration students to see that their peers or professors have had similar experiences,” said Carosa.

     Sophomore nursing major Amanda Nordberg thinks that this First2Go button system could be very encouraging to a first generation student and may reassure them of their choice to attend college without feeling alone.

     “They were in the same boat as you at one point in time. Now they are standing in front of you, and you get a sense that you can actually do this,” said Nordberg.

     Carosa plans to host several events each month featuring different talking points relating to modern issues that first-generation students face. The events are open to first-generation students, along with freshmen who are struggling with their college transition.

     “We want to keep these meetings very casual, social and in a supportive environment for all students,” said Carosa.

     More information about First2Go can be found at uccs.edu/fye/fi rst2go.

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