CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — West Texas A&M is aiming to connect current and former first-generation students with one another.
“How we can better support our students and one of the things we can do to support 50% of our students automatically is to start doing things for first generation college students,” said Dr. George Pacheco, Jr., West Texas A&M Dept. of Communications Associate Professor.
Your heard Dr. Pacheco, Jr. correctly, about half of WT’s total student population is first-generation, which means their parents did not graduate from a university.
WT’s “F1rst Gen” organization hopes to connect with and help out those students with a week full of activities that kicked off on Monday.
“The idea is that we celebrate today as national first gen day on a national level but the events that happen through the rest of the week are just kind of celebrations like fun activities, social activities, networking opportunities because that’s the primary way to help retention is engage them in a variety of different ways on campus so that they stay around and keep coming back,” said Dr. Pacheco, Jr.
As a first-generation student herself, the organization’s Vice President, Kyndle Groves knows firsthand what it’s like.
“I didn’t really know what to expect out of college. I just always knew I wanted to go at some point and do something at college. So coming in it was kind of like a culture shock. I’d never been on a college campus before. I didn’t know what to expect. There were just so many people,” said Groves.
The F1rst Gen organization provides a support system and any other help they can to help out fellow students.
Now there’s a newly-created first-gen alumni network to help out as well.
“We want to start the alumni network to help guide these students in those directions like serve as one on one mentors, serve as question and answer sessions so that the student knows that look another first gen student did it. I can do it as well,” said Dr. Pacheco, Jr.
For more information on those events they mentioned and WT’s F1rst Gen Organization, click here.