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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Life + Arts

Club hub: First Generation Coogs

The path to college is a long and winding road that can be dizzying and perplexing, a blur of counselors, courses, administrators and faculty.

For some students, being the first in a family to attend college can intensify those already-overwhelming feelings. Without guidance and support from family members, first-generation students are left to their own devices, at times without a tool in their arsenal.

But six students are looking to change that.

First Generation Coogs is a new student organization founded this fall semester to ensure that these trailblazers don’t fall through the cracks. FGC President Linda Martinez has worked hard with her peers to start the organization this semester.

“As the first in my family who will receive a college degree, I am deeply invested in ensuring that First Generation Coogs becomes a strong community filled with helpful resources for other first-generation students and a place where they can have their ideas heard and their needs met,” Martinez said.

Martinez labels her four main ingredients for success as “support, engagement, network, volunteer.” She hopes to provide connections with other first-generation faculty, education on campus resources and a network of like-minded students to ensure that members ultimately graduate.

“As a member of this organization, students will not only be able to strengthen the community amongst those who are first to pursue a post-secondary education,” Martinez said, “but will also provide students the opportunity to reach back and assist other potential first-generation students through volunteerism in the community.”

She sees a growing trend in first-generation students and wants to meet their needs, which she described as being “overlooked.”

“My wish is that FGC is a long-lasting organization where students can feel welcome and find encouragement and support in their college education and future career,” Martinez said. “Whether a student wants to become a teacher, an engineer, an entrepreneur, et cetera — we all share a common goal, a common struggle and a common desire to be the first in our family to graduate college.”

Martinez proudly proclaims the FGC creed:

“I will be the first.”

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