Barnes Hall, where the First Generation Student Resource Center might be located.

Cameron Pollack / Sun Photography Editor

Barnes Hall, where the First Generation Student Resource Center might be located.

March 7, 2017

First Generation Students Propose New Resource Center

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Members of the First Generation Student Union presented a proposal to create a first generation student resource center to the administration at its meeting Thursday.

Drafted by Travis Ghirdharie ’17, Paola Muñoz ’17 and Mayra Valadez ’18, the goal is to “find a supportive community for their socioemotional needs and gain access to consolidated academic resources while also becoming active creaters of new, innovative initiatives,” according to the proposal.

The center, if implemented, would be a social area dedicated to first-generation students located in the first and second floors of Barnes hall, according to the proposal. The center would also be staffed with a new dean of first-generation college students, mental health and wellness counselors, hiring financial aid and academic advisers, writing coaches and a director of first generation community development and engagement.

Renee Alexander ’74, associate dean of students, who was present at the meeting, said that she was impressed by the amount of effort that went into this proposal.

“The students provided research and data as well as their own personal narratives and experiences to highlight the key issues,” she said. “It was very well-researched and the issues the students brought forth were extremely salient.”

Alexander added that the proposal is not a matter of creating something new but rather about utilizing the already-existing resources.

“A lot of these resources already exist,” Alexander said. “It’s a question of how to make them more accessible to first-generation.”

However, Valadez said that “the fact that we don’t have a centralized location for all of our resources is, in itself a crisis.”

Cornell Woodson, associate director for diversity and inclusion at the ILR school, who also presented at the meeting, praised the students for the thorough proposal.

“I think the administration [has] reacted very positively to the idea,” Woodson said. “It’s a great idea and would really provide first-generation college students with tailored support that meets their unique needs.”

Woodson added that the administration looks forward to continuing to work with FGSU.

In light of the receptive response from the administration, Ghirdharie and Valadez said they believe that the University will “seriously consider their proposal and act to implement in the future.”